This ain’t the Betty Crocker casserole you’re used to. Instead, this higher-end version combines tender beef, tangy green tomatoes, and fluffy Sweet Potato Biscuits. It may take slightly more work than the Betty Crocker recipe, but it’s well worth it.
Having a 3-1/2- or 5-quart Le Creuset buffet casserole is ideal for doing this as a one-pot dish; otherwise prepare the stew in a large Dutch oven, then transfer it to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish for the biscuit-baking stage.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Place onions in a medium heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them; let sit 1 minute, then drain. Run under cold water until cool enough to handle, then peel onions, trim ends, and reserve.
Season beef well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put 1/4 cup flour in a dish, add beef pieces, and toss to coat; shake off excess flour. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-1/2- or 5-quart low-sided casserole or other large Dutch oven. Add beef in a single layer (do this in batches if necessary) and brown on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add pearl onions, bell pepper, and celery to the pot; stir well and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté vegetables until they begin to caramelize, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, and tomato paste, and cook 1 minute more. Add remaining 1/4 cup flour and cook, stirring frequently, until flour is well combined, about 2 minutes.
Pour in wine and deglaze, by scraping up any browned bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon or spatula, and allow to reduce slightly, about 1 minute. Add broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, and seared beef with any accumulated juices, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so stew is barely simmering. Cook, covered, until meat is fork tender, about 2 hours. (Check occasionally to make sure mixture is not boiling.) Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Prepare biscuit dough, cut it into circles, and cover with a clean, dry towel until stew is ready. If you’ve made the stew in a large Dutch oven, transfer it to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and top with biscuits; if you’ve made it in the shallow Le Creuset buffet casserole, simply place biscuits on top of stew in the pot and brush them with a little heavy cream. Place a baking sheet on the oven rack below the casserole to catch any drips, and bake casserole until biscuits are crispy on top and golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.