Browned beef chuck results in a rich braise. If your slow cooker insert can’t go on the stovetop, brown the beef in a heavy-bottomed pot and add the tomatoes, cognac and herbs, scraping well to release the stuck brown bits on the bottom, before transferring to the insert.
Heat a large skillet or a 5 1/2- to 6-quart stovetop-safe slow cooker insert over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the meat generously with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the insert and sear the meat, turning as each side turns a deep mahogany color, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the carrots to the slow cooker and then transfer the meat on top. Scatter the garlic, fennel and onions around the meat.
Crush the tomatoes through your fingers into the slow cooker, and then stir in their juices, 3 tablespoons of the cognac, the herbes de Provence and 2 teaspoons salt. Whisk the flour and chicken broth together, and then add to the cooker. Cover the cooker, set it on low and cook until the meat and vegetables are very tender, about 8 hours.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board. Skim any excess fat off the top of the sauce in the cooker. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon cognac, the parsley, tomato tapenade and orange zest into the vegetables and sauce in the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the vegetables around the meat and spoon some sauce over the top. Serve with hot buttered egg noodles. Pass the remaining sauce.