Old Fashioned Beef Stew

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 pound beef stew meat, visible fat removed
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups homemade beef stock or canned unsalted chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
4 medium red potatoes (about 1 pound) cut in 1-inch chunks
2 large carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 2 cups)
2 celery stalks, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup stock

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on one side for 5 minutes without turning over. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Turn meat, add 1 tsp. oil & brown another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Do not crowd the meat. Brown in two batches if necessary.
With all the meat browned and in the pan, reduce heat to medium. Add onion & garlic. Cook and stir 2-3 minutes until onion is browned.
Add stock, salt, thyme & bay leaf. Meat should be submerged so add more stock if needed to cover the meat.
Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat & simmer for 2 hours, checking occasionally.
After 2 hours, stir in potatoes, carrots & celery and bring to a boil. Cover & simmer 10-15 minutes until vegetables are done.
Combine flour with 1/4 cup stock or water, whisking until there are no lumps. Stir into stew and cook 5 more minutes until thickened.

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