In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine the potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, parsley, stout, olive oil, brown sugar and tomato paste. In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the salt and pepper. Dredge the beef pieces in the dry mixture, shaking off any excess.
In a medium skillet, melt the butter and canola oil over medium-high heat. In batches, add the beef pieces and sear until brown, about 2 minutes, transferring the beef to the slow cooker as done. Remove the last batch of beef to the slow cooker, add 1 cup of the chicken broth to the skillet and scrape up all the brown bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. Add the pan juices to the slow cooker, along with the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth. Cover, and cook on high for 6 hours.
Do not use "extra-stout" stout: It will make the stew too bitter. For a thicker stew, prepare a roux of equal parts canola oil and all-purpose flour in a saute pan. Cook for 2 minutes and then stir in 2 cups of the stew liquid. Then add the whole mixture into the finished stew.
Adapted from "Trisha's Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced Life" by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2015. Provided courtesy of Trisha Yearwood. All rights reserved.