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I made this exactly as posted, except for the pearl onions....mine had gone bad, so I used some diced vidalia onions instead. I did cut the recipe down to one serving, but found that I really didn't have enough gravy for my tastes. So I'd increase the amount used to make the gravy, and also increase the water to cook the meat in initially so you have a nice beefy flavor for the gravy. I really wanted to add some small new potatoes to the stew, and forget about the noodles/rice, but wanted to stay true to the recipe the first time. I think this would be great with the potatoes added, and with a bay leave added to the mix. Also maybe a bit of garlic and black pepper would be nice. Loved the clove....first time I've used clove in beef stew, and it really was great. I'll add it to other beef stews that I make.