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 Featured Recipe    Hamburger Stew

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This recipe is based on Henry Lewis Creel’s Ground Beef Stew Without Water from his wonderful book, Cooking For One Is Fun.

With the cost of beef so high these days many people are cutting back on beef. Even humble hamburger or ground chuck is expensive these days. Nevertheless, in this stew using hamburger or ground chuck is less expensive than stew beef and you get pretty much the same flavor.

Remember, you can use less meat than a recipe calls for to save money.

After the meat the tomatoes will be your next highest cost item in this recipe. You do not need to use as many as I did. You can use one. However, tomatoes are a necessity for this recipe as they add the liquid to the stew.

I usually use pearl onions in this recipe. However, the pearl onions at the store today were not much bigger than peas. I guess that has to do with the drought last summer. So today I used regular white onions. If you have never used pearl onions and you can afford them try them. They have a nice sweet taste. They are not usually that expensive either.  I suggest you try them sometime. Click the link in this paragraph to see what they look like.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves

¾ – 1 pound of ground beef or ground chuck

6 small white onions or 1-2 medium onions quartered

3 tablespoons dried split peas

2 medium carrots

2 small potatoes

¼ pound green beans

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

2 medium tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

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If needed: beef broth [canned or made from granules, pictured] or red wine.

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Here is what you do:

First prep all your vegetables:

Press the garlic. Wash and cut the potatoes into medium cubes. (I wash but do not peel the potatoes as there is much nutrition in the skin.) Peel the onions: if small leave them whole; if large cut into quarters. Peel and cut the carrots in half or into thirds. Wash and cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Wash and trim ends from the green beans.

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NOTE: After the potatoes are washed and cut, I place them in cold water so they do not discolor before I add them to the pot.

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Now heat the oil in a large pot. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.

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Slowly add the hamburger or ground chuck and cook, stirring occasionally.

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When the meat has lost most of its reddish color salt and pepper the meat and add the dry peas and continuing stirring a few minutes.

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Mix in the thyme, and add the onions, carrots, potatoes, and the green beans to the pot..

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Cover the ingredients with the tomatoes placing them cut side down. [You want the steam to hit the fleshy part of the tomatoes so that they release their juices into the pot. This, along with the juices from cooking the ground chuck, takes the place of making gravy in this stew.] Add a bit more salt. Cover the pot tightly.

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 Let the stew steam and cook over medium heat for 45-60 minutes, checking once or twice. If the vegetables have not let go their moisture or the pot is dry add a bit (I start with a tablespoon.) of the beef broth or some red wine.

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After an hour check to see if all of the vegetables are cooked through. If not, cook another 10-15 minutes or so, adding more liquid if necessary, or until all the vegetables are tender.

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Serve with a salad and some buttered bread.

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Bon appétit!!!

Cost

1 tablespoon vegetable oil                $0.13              

2-3 garlic cloves                              $0.27

1 pound ground chuck                      $3.54

1 -2 medium onions quartered          $1.15

3 tblspns dried split peas                  $0.15

2 medium carrots                             $0.22

2 small potatoes                               $0.98                         

¼ pound green beans                       $0.61

¼ teaspoon dried thyme                   $0.18

2 medium tomatoes                          $2.47

Salt and pepper to taste

Beef broth                                       $0.43

Total cost =$10.13
Cost per serving : $2.53

Quote of the Day

Without love, what are we worth?  Eighty-nine cents!  Eighty-nine cents worth of chemicals walking around lonely. 

M*A*S*H, Hawkeye

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