1 1/2 pounds lean beef stew meat
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 big potatoes (6 if using smaller ones), diced
1 8-oz can tomato sauce (or 1 can tomato paste plus can water)
half a canful of water (or more if you wish)
1/2 cup of white or red wine
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf (optional)
3 tbsp flour or cornstarch dissolved well in a half cup of water
You get your pot, and you spray it with nonstick spray (or just use about 2 tbsp oil). Heat it up and proceed to throw your onions and garlic in, sauteing it for a minute or so, till onions are translucent and garlic browns a little. Add your beef and brown that along with the onion and garlic. Add in your worcestershire sauce, parsley, black pepper, paprika and bay leaf. Coat everything well with the spices. Toss in the celery and potatoes, giving it a good stir. You can use any kind of potato, your choice, peeled or unpeeled. You can use as much as you want to. Dump in your tomato sauce, wine and half canful of water. You can add more water if you think it is too rich for your taste.
Now bring to a boil, cover, and set heat on medium. Let it just simmer for about 30 minutes, giving it an occasional stir. Now if potatoes aren't quite done yet and not completely soft, leave it in for a few more minutes till they are.
Once it is done, mix in your dissolved flour or cornstarch. Make sure there are no lumps! Mix it in well, turn off the heat, and let it sit for about 5 minutes to thicken. Take out the bay leaf before serving.
Now if you are using the slow cooker, there are three steps, really.
Step 1: Brown the meat. Add garlic and half of the spices.
Step 2: Put meat and everything except dissolved flour in slow cooker. Set on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Go do something else (for me that something else would be chasing kids!).
Step 3: 10 minutes before serving, add the dissolved flour, stir well and cover till ready to serve.
Tip: Put the hardest stuff, in this case the potatoes and carrots, on the bottom. It's so they cook better. Also, don't take the lid off your crock pot unless you really have to. Every time you do, it takes 20 minutes for the temperature to come back up to continue cooking your food. (wink).
You can serve with noodles or rice, but it is really good as is.