Coat the bottom of a large skillet with the 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Pat the meat dry and brown it in the skillet in small batches. Remove the browned pieces and set aside. If more cooking oil is needed as you brown the meat add it by the teaspoonful.
Add the onions to the skillet and cooked until lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute. Pour in ¼ cup of the wine to deglaze the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom.
Pour in the broth, bay leaves, and thyme to the pan and bring the broth to a simmer. Then add the salt and pepper.
Place the beef chunks in the slow cooker and pour in the broth mixture and the remaining wine. Cook the stew on low for six hours. After it has cooked for four hours stir the carrots and celery into the stew.
When cooking is complete, remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Taste the stew for seasoning and add a pinch or two of salt as needed. Serve the stew in individual bowls over mashed potatoes or noodles.