- a medium or large pot with a lid
- a heatproof container
- one large potato
- one onion
- one celery stalk
- one carrot
- one pound of beef stew meat
- salt and pepper
- a few spoonfuls of flour
- oil (any kind)
- tomato paste (optional)
- two bay leaves
- red wine (optional)
- one quart of beef broth
Chop the vegetables into large pieces.
Generously sprinkle the meat on all sides with salt and pepper, then sprinkle flour over the meat and toss to coat.
Coat the bottom of the pot with oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is very hot and shimmering, about three minutes. Place the meat in the pot and cook it for three to four minutes without disturbing it. (A nice brown crust is forming.) Turn the meat and cook it a few more minutes until it’s browned on all sides. Remove the meat to a plate.
Pour all but a couple of spoonfuls of the hot oil into a heatproof container (you can throw the oil away after it cools) and return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery; season with salt and pepper; and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are browned, about five minutes.
Add the tomato paste (if using) and bay leaves and stir to coat the vegetables in the tomato paste. Pour in enough wine (if using) to coat the bottom of the pot, then use the back of a spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. (This is called deglazing.)
Add the potato, the meat and any accumulated juices, and enough beef broth to cover everything. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the stew is simmering. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about one hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.