Heat a cast iron pot or heavy dutch oven over medium high heat.
When hot, add vegetable oil. When oil is hot, add beef and brown.
Add onions and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
Add parsnip and celery and cook another 2 minutes, stirring often.
Add potatoes and stir to combine.
Add mushrooms, bouillon, bay leaves, spices and water. Stir until bouillon is dissolved.
Cover pot and simmer for 1 hour.
If a thicker stew is desired, melt 1/2 stick unsalted butter in a small pot, then whisk in 1/4 cup flour. Cook the roux for about 5 minutes over medium low heat, then stir into the stew and continue to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes more.
For those opposed to bouillon, substitute beef stock for the water and add 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt or 1 tablespoon Diamond Kosher salt or 1 3/4 teaspoons Morton's Kosher salt.