Mom's Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Pats Mom's special Beef Stew recipe. She made it all of her life. All of the good smells helped her reminisce about the good old days.

Yield: 20 servings

¼ cup margarine
4 pounds beef stew meat cut into 1-inch cubes
2 bay leaves
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
2 cups diced celery
10 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into small chunks
10 medium carrots, peeled, cut into sticks
3 cups canned tomatoes, drained, diced
3 tablespoons beef granules
6 cups hot water
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon A-1 steak sauce
To thicken stew later:
1 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Few drops caramel color

Melt margarine in large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in batches. Place in a large full-size table pan or Dutch oven. Add bay leaves, onions, celery, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes. Dissolve beef granules in 6 cups of hot water. Add to meat and vegetable mixture. Add Worcestershire sauce and A-1 steak sauce to mixture and stir. Cover and bake in over at 275 degrees for 3-4 hours or until meat and vegetables are very tender. Remove bay leaves. Whisk cornstarch into 1 cup water. Stir gradually into the beef stew until thickened. Add few drops of caramel color to finished product to give a golden brown color. Do not add too much caramel color or the stew will turn very dark.