Prep: 1. Peel and slice carrots. 2. Slice celery. 3. Cut potatoes and meat into chunks. 4. Chop onions. 5. Mince garlic. Make: 1. Soak carrot chunks, celery slices and potato chunks in bowl of cold water. Set aside. 2. Toss meat with salt and pepper. 3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. 4. Working in batches, coat meat pieces in flour and add to pot. Brown on all sides, ~8-10 minutes. 5. Transfer browned meat to a plate and repeat until all meat is browned. 6. Pour off all but a few tablespoons of fat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. 7. Add onions and garlic cook on medium-low heat until lightly caramelized, ~10-12 minutes. 8. Stir in tomato paste and thyme and cook for 2 more minutes. 9. Raise the heat to high, add 1/2 cup broth and stir, scraping the bottom. 10. Return the meat to the pan. Add rest of broth and bay leaf (if the broth doesn't cover the meat add a little water). Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. 11. Drain carrots, celery, and potato chunks. Add to pot and cook until tender, ~30-35 minutes. 12. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
If desired you can remove a couple potato pieces, mash them and then stir back into stew to thicken mixture. Depending on taste, this is great with a few dashes of hot sauce added in at the end.