Homemade Beef Stew w/ Jamaican Dumplings

This is my first-ever homemade beef stew.  Growing up I used to watch my mother make beef stew so I had a general gist of what to do – so I went to the grocery store, picked up my veggies, my beef and I got a jar of beef stock (it’s like a really thick jelly consistency of flavored stock that you add to water).  I’d been craving beef stew because the weather had changed and all I wanted was something warm and something to make the kitchen smell “homey.”
One thing I will say is I like my stews thick.  I’m not really a soup person so stews are right up my alley.  I know everyone varies with thickness but thankfully my boyfriend also likes a moderately thick stew so I didn’t have to make this on the watery side.  This cooked for a fair while on the stove (a little over 3 hours) so it’s definitely not one of those meals you can just throw together in a flash – but undoubtedly it was delicious!
I used 2 tablespoons of olive oil to brown my beef, and then added 2 pounds of lean stew beef and let it brown up stirring it around in the pot.  I then added in my minced garlic.  When it was almost completely browned I threw in my large diced onion.  When done, I added in water (just eyeballing since I was making a big pot).  I added in my beef starter stock – covered and let simmer for an hour and a half.  After that I uncovered the pot, added in 2 pounds of chopped potatoes and a large bag of baby carrots.  While that came back up to simmer I made my Jamaican dumplings (flour, salt and water where you knead it into a harder rough – then rolled the pieces out in the bowl and then added them into the stew.  I covered it and let it cook for another near hour.
Ten minutes before serving I added in 1/3 cup cornstarch (mixed with cold water) and stirred it to have it thicken up to a delicious and perfect consistency.
Overall TWO thumbs up!  This was SO good!  What’s funny is my boyfriend didn’t know I was going to add Jamaican dumplings to the dish so when he was served his bowl and he spotted the dumplings he went “Awe, yeah!” HAHA.  We ate it for a few days, then frozen up the remainder into separate containers for quick dinners/lunches when we don’t have any idea as to what to eat.