1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Thoroughly brown the meat, turning often with a wooden spoon. The meat should almost stick to the pan but not be burned.
2. Pour 4 cups of the hot water into the pot. Add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, bay leaves, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and cloves. Bring to a boil. Decrease the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep the ingredients from sticking. Remove the bay leaves.
3. Add the carrots, potatoes, corn, and the remaining 2 cups of hot water to the stew. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, cover, and cook until the vegetables are almost done 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the dumplings: Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a glass measuring cup, combine the milk and oil and then add this all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.
5. Make a paste of the 1/2 cup flour and the cold water in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Pour into the stew and stir with a wooden spoon to thicken the stew, about 2 minutes. If you like the stew with more liquid, add water to make the desired consistency.
6. Drop the dumpling dough by teaspoonfuls on top of the bubbling stew. (You’ll have about 14 dumplings.) Decrease the heat, cover, and simmer about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are done. Serve immediately.
Variation: Omit the dumplings and cook the stew in a slow cooker on medium
heat 4 to 5 hours. Serve with hot rolls or corn bread.