You don't need to brown the beef for this stew; just mix everything in a heavy casserole and bake while you take off for up to 3 hours. Be sure to cover the casserole tightly to prevent liquids from evaporating. If you would like even more "time-off" for other activities, use the lower temperature and the longer the bake time.
2 pounds boneless beef round, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large baking potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons quick tapioca
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Rub a heavy 3-quart casserole with oil.
2. Turn the meat into casserole, top with the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onion.
3. Mix the tomato sauce, water, sugar, pepper, and tapioca and pour over the meat and vegetables.
4. Cut a piece of parchment paper that is at least 2 inches longer on all sides than the casserole. Press the paper onto the top of the beef and vegetable mixture and tuck it down around all sides of the contents. Cover the whole thing, using the cover of the casserole, or with aluminum foil.
5. Bake for 4 to 5 hours at 300F or 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 325F.