Here is the stew at the early simmering stage, before vegetables are added.
* 2 pounds stew beef (dredged in flour)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 cups water
* 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
* 1 clove garlic, peeled
* 1 or 2 bay leaves
* 1 medium onion, sliced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
* one can of chopped tomatoes
* 3 large carrots, sliced
* 3 ribs celery, chopped
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• Dredge meat in flour and brown meat in hot oil.
• Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice.
• Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
• Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. • To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.