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Crock Pot Beef Stew

This crock pot beef stew is the perfect comfort food on a cold day.  Just add some cornbread muffins for a meal.

1 to 1 1/2 pounds of lean beef, chuck or stew meat, cut in bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons cooking oil or bacon drippings
3 or 4 carrots, cut in pieces
4 or 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
3 stalks of celery, cut in inch sized pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in pieces
1 cup frozen peas, Optional
4 cups beef broth or 2 (14.5 ounce cans)
1 (14.5 ounce) can beef gravy
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Few drops of hot sauce, Optional
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
2 bay leaves
Dredge the stew meat in the flour and brown in oil on top of the stove. (Keep any leftover flour to thicken stew, if needed)  Add meat to crock pot along with carrots,  potatoes, celery, onion,  and peas. Mix together beef broth, beef gravy,  salt, pepper, cayenne, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and mushroom soup with a wire whisk.  Pour over meat and vegetables in the crock pot, add bay leaves and cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours or until vegetables are done. (If you want a thicker gravy remove some of the liquid about 25 minutes before serving, add a couple tablespoons of the leftover flour from dredging the meat and return to crock pot to thicken the gravy). Remove bay leaves.   Makes 8 to 10 servings.
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