This certainly did produce a tender stew that tastes like it cooked for a much longer amount of time. I made this exactly as posted, except I did get nervous about the amount of cumin seed, and reduced it by about half. It actually was plenty, because it provides the most pronounced flavor. In lieu of water, I might try beef broth, as it would add some flavor and color. I didn't really find the color of the stew that appealing, and it really needs the salt to bring all the tasty flavors out. I used butter in the roux, which worked out fine. The beef came out very tender, though, and we had a very satisfying meal. Made for ZWT 8.
I adapted this recipe for the crockpot & wanted to reduce the calories so replaced the lard/ flour. I started with a 2 1/2 -3 pound chuck roast & cut it into cubes. I added a 19oz can of diced tomatoes with the liquid and completely omitted the water. I cooked on high about 4 hours and then stirred in a half cup of water & 2 T of cornstarch to thicken for about 30 minutes more.
I carefully weighed the spices & they seemed like a large amount especially for the listed 1 pound of meat. Since I was using almost three pounds I proceeded with the spices as is. The carne guisada has bold flavors & the cumin is prominent. We enjoyed it & would make it as is again, but others might want to adjust for preference. Next time I might throw in a chipotle too. Served with guacomole, mexican rice, and melon. Thank you for sharing the recipe!