This was an excellent stew and did not take all day. It cooked just long enough to sit down and rest and enjoy the smell. It's from "The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook" by Paula Deen
2 lbs stew beef
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika (I use half-sharp from Penzeys)
Dash of allspice or ground cloves
3 large carrots, sliced
4 red potatoes, quartered
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worchestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, papricka, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove (I actually chopped my garlic before putting it in and then left it in). Add carrots, potatoes and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer, or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
Here's where I veered off: She says to thicken the gravy, you should remove 2 cups of the broth. Combine the cornstarch with 1/2 cup water, stirring until smooth. Mix it with the hot liquid and then return it to the pot.
Mix the cornstarch and water and drizzle it directly into the pot, stirring carefully so as to not break up the potatoes or mash the carrots. Simmer for a few more minutes to allow the cornstarch to cook a bit.
One more note: usually when I make beef stew, I use a pot roast because often I can find it on sale and it's cheaper and more tender than stewing beef. But this time I used stew beef because it was on special. It was very tender.