1 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/4 pounds stew beef, cut into 1 inch pieces (the secret to this recipe is buying a chuck roast and cutting your own stew beef...much higher quality than what they sell in the grocery as stew beef)
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups beef stock or beef broth (I've recently been turned on to Better than Bouillon...it's a concentrated bouillon at the grocery...you add water to constitute it. I used it this time and it was GREAT! Much cheaper, tasted good, and much less packaging waste.)
1 can/bottle Guiness beer (If you want to omit, just add a couple more cups beef broth. But it's worth it to include it...yummy)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 4 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups 1/2 inch pieces peeled carrots
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. stir to combine. bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 2-3 hours (until beef is pretty tender), stirring occasionally.
Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. If you like your stew a little thicker, mix some cornstarch with stock and add to stew. Cook 5-10 min more to thicken. Discard bay leaves. Refrigerate uncovered until cold. Then place in freezer containers and freeze. To serve, just thaw, heat, and eat.