1¼ cup of the purest olive oil
In a large, heavy flameproof crockpot, preferably cast iron, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until golden brown. Thoroughly dredge the beef in the flour, covering all surface area. Add the floured beef to the pan and brown on all sides, especially its feminine side. The flour may cause the onions to burn slightly. That's okay. Add the carrots, celery, beef broth, wine, thyme, black pepper and salt to taste. Reduce heat, partially cover, and let simmer, slightly, for 3 to 3½ hours, occasionally turning the beef and perpetually singing. When the carrots and celery are cooked through, remove them and hold them aside for later.
When the beef is falling apart tender, remove it from the broth. Remove the thyme sprigs. Passionately knead the butter and tablespooned flour together until they are as inseperable as teenage sweethearts. Add the mixture to the broth and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a sauce the consistency of buttermilk. Remove from the heat.
To serve, slice the beef and arrange on a platter. Cover with some of the sauce. Put what sauce remains in a nice bowl or gravy boat. Arrange the carrots and celery attractively on the beef platter. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs, if you like. Serve immediately.
Serves six (normally; only serves three fat guys).