Arrowroot flour is a form of starch that is derived from the root of a tropical plant. It is used in baking and cooking as an effective gluten-free alternative to white flour or cornstarch. I used arrowroot as a substitute for all-purpose flour, to coat the stew meat and help thicken the sauce. Making a stew does take the better part of the day to make on the stove top. I don’t own a slow-cooker and really enjoy using my Dutch oven for this type of low and slow recipe. The secret is slowly building the flavor, by browning the meat on all sides, and cooking with a wine that you enjoy drinking. The bay leaves and fresh herbs add so much flavor. Finish with a splash of red wine vinegar to brighten and balance the stew. The leftovers are the best!
Place the cubes of beef in a bowl with the 1/4 cup of flour. Toss the beef until well coated. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy- bottomed pot. Working in batches add the beef to the pot and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Add more oil as needed between batches. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate. Set aside.
Once you've removed the beef from the pot, add the tomato paste and red wine. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add back in the beef, beef broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook, stirring the broth from time to time, until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Add the onions, carrots and potatoes and simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes. Add more broth or water if the stew is dry. Add the fresh herbs and simmer another 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the vinegar. This stew can be made one day ahead. Let the stew cool, cover and refrigerate. Re-heat over low heat before serving.