Brown beef in hot shortening in a large Dutch oven. Add next 11 ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Add potatoes, onions, and carrots; cover and simmer an additional hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove and discard bay leaves.
Combine flour and water, stirring to form a smooth paste. Stir into stew; cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Ladle into individual soup bowls, and serve warm.