Beef Stew for the Soul

Made this the other night.  ZOMG YUM.

2 12-oz. bottles of your favorite Porter
3 lbs. chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 lg. white onions, diced
5 celery stalks, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
3 lbs. white potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
2 qts. beef stock
1/3 c. all-purpose flour

Heat 3 tbsp. of oil over medium-high heat in large, heavy dutch oven (pref. cast-iron).  Add cubed meat and stir.  When meat is thoroughly browned, drain fat and add salt, pepper, and thyme to taste.  Pour in the two bottles of porter, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  While simmering, heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When oil is hot, but not smoking, add onions, carrots and celery.  Sauté until onions are very translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add vegetables and beef broth to dutch oven, cover, and simmer for another 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, adjust seasoning to taste, and add potatoes.  If there isn’t enough liquid to cover, add water.  Simmer, covered, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.  In a large measuring cup or bowl, add 1/3 cup flour to 1 cup very warm water.  Whisk to blend thoroughly.  Add to dutch oven, stirring well.  Bring back up to simmer.  Feel free to adjust thickness with more flour and water in 0.25:1 ratios.

Ladle stew into bowls and serve with a good, crusty bread.  “Instant” comfort on cold winter nights.