Spices for beef stew include salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and thyme. Other spices include allspice, ground cloves and bay leaves. Other beef stew recipes call for fresh onions, bay leaves, carrots and celery.
Paula Deen's recipe for old-fashioned beef stew, found on FoodNetwork.com, begins with browning 2 pounds of beef stew meat in hot oil. Slowly add 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 peeled clove of garlic, 1 or 2 bay leaves and 1 teaspoon each of both sugar and salt. Also add 1/2 teaspoon of both paprika and pepper and a dash of allspice. Cover and simmer the mixture for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the bay leaves and the garlic clove, add sliced carrots and chopped celery, and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes. To thicken the stew, combine 1/4 cup of water and cornstarch, and slowly add the paste to the stew until it reaches the desired thickness.
For an alternate version using a different variation of spices, brown boneless chuck roast in a large pot. Once browned, add in salt and pepper, and then remove the meat. Saute onions in the pan, and add flour, garlic and wine. Simmer this liquid for 5 minutes, and add broth, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and the browned meat. Cook on low for 1 hour, and then add potatoes, celery and carrots, and cook for another 30 minutes.