AHHH....stew. The ultimate if comfort. What is not to love. Okay, when I was a kid I HATED stew, but I think it was because the ratio of vegetable to beef is lopsided. But I love it now!
1/2 C. olive oil
3 lbs. top round, cubed
3 C. full-bodied red wine
8 C. beef broth
1 T. tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. thyme
1 bay leaf
2 large carrots, washed and sliced
4 small (pearl) onions, cut in half
3 large quartered potatoes (Yukon golds are best)
3 stalks of celery, washed and chopped
In a large stockpot, heat the oil. Add beef and brown evenly on all sides. Add wine, 2 cups of broth, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, until beef is tender and liquid is thickened and dark. Add in the rest of the broth and the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes.
If broth needs additional thickening, mix 3 T. water with 1-2 T. flour and whisk until smooth. Add to stew. Let boil until thick.