No Salt English Beef Stew

Stew is a one-pot meal, and most certainly was one of the first “recipes,” because cooking vessels and heating sources were limited. Stews are as varied as soups and generally reflect the culture of origin, such as Hungarian goulash and French beef bourguingon. Stews can contain almost anything. The best part is that they have so many ingredients and spices that salt is not needed.

General Definition of Stew
Stew is a one-pot dish containing meat and vegetables, although not all contain meat. There is literally a “thin line” between soup and stew. The key to thickness is that the broth should be liquid, but thick enough to be eaten on a plate, like gravy. The remaining liquid on the plate, mopped up with a slice of bread, is delicious.

English Beef Stew
There are two types of English beef stew, one in which meat, vegetables and flour are fried before stewing, and one in which they are not. Various different vegetables can be added, but most commonly, hearty root vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, onions and potatoes are included. These were probably the only vegetables that could be stored in winter, and this recipe is indeed a comfort recipe for cold days.

Recipe for English Beef Stew

This recipe is somewhat of a hybrid, because the meat is browned in onions to seal the juices and retain the rich color of cooked beef, while the vegetables are boiled.


  • Crisco Oil
  • ¼ – ½ cup flour
  • 2 medium onions

Amount desired depending on size of stew:

  • Beef Stew Meat – between 2 & 3 lb.
  • Carrots – peeled if desired
  • Potatoes – peeled if desired

Herbs and spices:

  • Parsley flakes – ¼ cup or to taste
  • Oregano leaves or powder to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Worcestershire Sauce to taste


Cut meat into pieces a little large than enough for one bite. The pieces of meat will be smaller after the stew is done. Chop one onion.

Brown chopped onion in oil on medium heat and then add meat. Stir meat until all sides are well browned. Heat water in a large saucepan until it comes to a boil, add meat and onions and let simmer, covered, 1hour.

At the beginning you may lift the lid off occasionally to scrape the “scum” off of the sides of the pan with a plastic spatula. The scum is a substance called albumin that is extracted from the fibers of the meat. It is harmless and is scraped off mainly for appearance, so don’t feel that you have to “get it all.”

While the meat is slowly cooking, cut potatoes and carrots into pieces small enough for one mouthful, and cut the other onion into small wedges. After one hour, add carrots, potatoes and onion pieces to the stew and bring to a boil again. Let simmer, covered, another ½ hour. Add parsley, oregano and black pepper. Add Worcestershire sauce generously, or to taste. This gives the stew a rich brown color and assures a tasty and not a bland dish, without added salt.

Shortly before serving, mix flour and water in a cup. Water must be cold. Start with ¼ cup flour and, with a fork, mix vigorously with cold water until smooth and the consistency of whole milk. Gradually stir into stew and let simmer for a few minutes until stew thickens.

If broth is still not the consistency of gravy, continue to add small amounts of cold water mixed with flour. Note that the stew will thicken even more if it sits a while before serving.

Serve in bowls or on plates, with slices or torn pieces of fresh bread – and butter, if desired. Rye bread in particular, compliments beef stew. Note that this stew is not intended to be a low calorie meal, but is full of healthy vegetables. Stew meat used to be rather fatty with lots of gristle, but is now usually lean and healthy.

Crafting a Customized Beef Stew
Any vegetables can be added to beef stew, provided that raw vegetables are added after the meat and potatoes, depending on the time it takes the vegetables to cook properly. Frozen vegetables can be added just before adding the flour. After adding frozen vegetables, be sure to bring the stew to a boil and lower to a simmer again before adding the flour. Frozen corn is a delicious addition.

Beef Stew: Hearty and Tasty without Added Salt
Stews are as varied as soups. The wonderful part is that, once one has learned to cook beef stew, virtually any vegetable or spice can be added to taste. But salt is never needed to spice up this recipe for beef stew.

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