I make this stew for my family utilizing ingredients usually rolling around in my crisper combined with on sale steak. Usually top or bottom round steak can be bought for less then half the price of prepackaged stew meat.
In a large stock pot over medium heat, melt butter or add oil to cover bottom of pan. Add onions and cook stirring occasionally until lightly caramelized. Remove onions and set aside.
Add more oil to pan. Dredge meat in flour and add to pan half at a time. Remove meat when well browned and deglaze pan with stock or water making sure to get all those brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
Add meat and onions back to the pan. Add herbs, powders, bouillon and pepper (if not using stock you may need to add a couple more bouillon cubes and omit salt from recipe). Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour.
Remove cover stir and add celery and carrots. Recover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove cover and add potatoes. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until tender.
If gravy seem a little thin, take about 1/4 cup of hot gravy, add 1/4 cup of cold water to make it room temp and stir in 1 heaping tablespoon of flour. Stir this back into pot and simmer for 5 more minutes.