In a small bowl, mix the flour, cayenne, and the salt and pepper until evenly combined. Pat the meat dry, then sprinkle with the flour mixture and toss to coat.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 4-quart Dutch oven (or oven-ready saucepan) over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add half of the meat and sear until brown on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are brown, about 5 minutes.
Heat oven to 325 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Add the garlic, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf and stir to coat. Stir in the wine and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Add the potatoes and stir to coat.
Add the meat and any accumulated juices, and the beef broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the stew with a lid and transfer to oven. Cook until the beef is knife tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
When beef is almost ready, make the biscuits. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, thyme, sugar, baking powder, and salt until evenly combined. Stir in the cream until a loose dough forms. Lightly flour a clean work surface, turn the dough out onto the surface, and knead briefly until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pat into a 1-inch thick circle and cut into 8 wedges.
Increase the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the stew from the oven. Uncover the stew, and stir in the parsley. Top the stew with the biscuits and brush with a little cream. Return the pot to the oven bake until the tops are crispy and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Aida Mollenkamp