"This is more elegant than a typical stew, but just as easy. Most people can't guess the secret ingredient that makes it special! You could cook it on the stove instead of a crockpot, which will cut the cooking time by about half."
1) Fry the bacon in a large frying pan until lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside.
2) While the bacon is cooking, put the flour, paprika, and pepper in a plastic bag. Shake to mix and then add the stew meat. Shake gently to coat the meat with the seasoned flour. Add the olive oil to the bacon grease, set the heat to medium, and cook the meat until its browned on all sides, stirring often. Remove the meat with the slotted spoon and set it aside.
3) Now cook the onion, leek, garlic, and mushrooms in the frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, until the onions are soft.
4) Put the meat, onion mixture, and bacon into a crockpot and set it on high. Pour the tomatoes, wine and water into the frying pan and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping the bottom of the frying pan. Pour the hot liquid into the crockpot. Set to high.
5) Add the brandy or sherry and bay leaf. Cover and cook 2 hours.
6) Stir in the chocolate, carrots and potatoes. Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender. Note: add extra broth or water if needed.