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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