Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meat and sauté until it is browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate as it is browned.
To drippings in Dutch oven, add celery and onion. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are very tender, about 6 minutes.
Return meat to Dutch oven. Add 4 cups water, canned tomatoes, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour.
Add potatoes and carrots to Dutch oven; cook 30 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
Whisk together the flour, 1/4 cup water and browning sauce in a small bowl until well blended and smooth. Stir flour mixture into simmering stew. Stir in peas and pearl onions. Cook until heated through and slightly thickened. Remove bay leaf and discard. Serve immediately, over noodles if desired. Makes 8 servings.