In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add beef and brown well on all sides. Add salt, bay leaf, and thyme, along with the condensed beef broth and 3 cups of the water.
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add carrots and onions; simmer for about 30 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender.
Combine cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup of water; stir until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture into the stew. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
Calories per serving: 437
Fat per serving: 14.5g