Farmhouse Beef Stew

This is one of the best stews I’ve ever had and it’s 100% salt free! I found the recipe in my “new” 20 yr old copy of Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis. I’m telling you, with each new dish I make from this book, I’m simply falling deeper & deeper in love. This stew is pretty foolproof, made with readily available ingredients, etc. but a couple words of caution. First, wait to make this on a day when you have the time. With approximately 3 hours of cooking & prep, this is not something to tackle on an average workday. Second, I followed the directions to a tee and found the cooking temp a little too high. Even with careful monitoring and frequent stirring, my stew kept sticking to the bottom of the pot. After changing pots TWICE and continually lowering the temp, I’ve decided to simply spare you all the same hassle. During the simmering stage, keep watch over the pot and go low and slow. Trust me, any extra cooking time will be worth it.

Serves 8.

SODIUM CONTENT: 142 mg per serving


1/3 c. flour
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 lbs. boneless stewing beef (such as chuck), cubed
2 T. vegetable oil
2 small onions, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick lengthwise slices
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
5-6 c. water
1- 28-oz. can no salt added plum tomatoes, drained, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
2 t. paprika
1 t. dried marjoram
10 black peppercorns
2 c. fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels


Mix the flour with freshly ground black pepper to taste in either a large ziptop plastic bag or on a sheet of waxed paper. Pop the beef cubes into the bag, seal and shake until well coated, or conversely, dredge beef cubes in flour on the paper until completely coated. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown cubes on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the meat to a large stock pot and set aside.

Add the onion and carrot to the browning skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, 4 minutes.

Add 1/4 c. water to the pan and stir, scraping all of the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add contents to the stock pot, along with the tomatoes and enough water to cover. Add the bay leaves, paprika, 1/2 t. of the marjoram and all of the peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover pot and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent contents sticking to the bottom of the pan. NOTE: This is where you need to watch to make certain pot is not getting too hot. Err on the side of caution. Keep checking the pot, lowering heat if necessary and stirring frequently. Simmer until the meat is tender, roughly 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Add the green beans, potatoes, the remaining 1/2 t. marjoram, and then stir to combine. If the stew is very thick, add some more water – the mixture should be liquid enough to cook the beans and potatoes. Continue cooking, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender; about 30 minutes. Add the corn and cook until just heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

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18 Responses to Farmhouse Beef Stew

  1. melissa says:

    looks great. could this be made in the slow cooker?

  2. Christy says:

    Hey Melissa — Good question. I haven’t tested it that way, but definitely worth trying. As long as you’re cooking on low, it should come together on its own. Brown beef in the skillet, followed by carrots & onions, then transfer to slow cooker. Add everything, save for the corn, just for simplicity. Set to low — simmer 4-6 hrs (approx.) Once meat and veg are fork tender, add corn and heat through. This is a rough guess. If you do try it via slow cooker, please report back and let us all know!

  3. Alina Marone says:

    Melissa – when using a slow cooker add your green beans toward the end (30 – 60 min) to keep them vibrant and al dente. Green beans add nutrition, color and texture (but not “a” flavor per se) so cooking them for the long haul just melts them to mush. I love the look of homecooked food. It is SO inspirational.

  4. Christy says:

    Thanks so much for the tip, Alina! So true about homecooked food. Nothing beats it in my book (though I sure do LOVE someone else doing the clean up!)

  5. Dianne says:

    Christy – GREAT recipe I made this today and everyone LOVED IT perfect for a snow day! I made it in the crock pot and it turned out awesome. I added alittle cooked orzo to the bowl when served. YUMMY!
    Many Thanks, dianne

  6. Dianne says:

    Oops…I forgot to mention I used all the liquid from the tomatoes and then added water to cover. : )

  7. Christy says:

    Wonderful Dianne! So glad you enjoyed it! Good to know it translates to the slow cooker w/out issue. I like your orzo pairing (we have some in the cupboard, next time…) PS: I was wondering whether to drain the tomatoes or add the juice when I made mine — it didn’t specify in the recipe. Next time I’m adding it!

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  9. Roberta says:

    Hello Christy my husband has CHF and is allowed 90mg of sodium a day we use Dick’s recipes and love them. It is nice to find new things on your site I made this stew last night we loved it I did add two packs of no sodium beef packets. thanks tastes wonderful.

  10. Holly Martin says:

    Thanks for all the great recipes. I have made several of them. The cashew chicken was awesome, the baked breads, and now this stew. My dad has cirrhosis and has to eat 2000mg or less each day, so this site has been awesome!

    • Christy says:

      Hey Holly! You’re so welcome! Knowing you’re enjoying the recipes and the site is a such help to your dad totally makes my day. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Best wishes to you both, Christy 🙂

  11. Amy says:

    Made this today along with your honey, oatmeal whole wheat bread. My husband who also has CHF loved it! It’s been quite an adjustment for him to go low sodium. Your site has helped in a tremendous way. Thanks again!

    • Christy says:

      You’re so welcome, Amy! I’m elated to hear the site has been so helpful. It’s a huge transition. Hope you’re both doing well! Best wishes to you and your husband, Christy 🙂

  12. Denise Rothermel says:

    I am going to make this stew, just wondering if you could get a nutritional value on this stew. My husband is low sodium, but I am trying to loose weight and watching calories, etc. Thank you.

  13. Denise Rothermel says:

    Loved the stew, very flavorful. My husband is loving the cookies and muffins from your website, too. He is finally getting to eat some foods he loves!! Still waiting to see if you can get nutrition info on the farmhouse stew.

  14. yvonne schmitt says:

    I also would like the nutrition information as my husband has CHF and is on dialysis. Thanks.

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