Sunday, February 21, 2010

hamburger stew (or soup)

One autumn when I was working at the local orchard grading apples, one of my co-workers was Ruthanne Odell.  She was a fun person to talk to, and we talked every chance we got.  One day in the course of our conversation, she said, "I think I'll make hamburger stew tonight."
"What?  I've never heard of hamburger stew!"
"You've never made hamburger stew?  I'll bring some in a thermos tomorrow, and you can taste it."
It was very good, and I asked her what was in it and how she fixed it.  
"You brown some hamburger with onion; then you put in enough water for the stew and add carrots and potatoes.  And barley, but not too much, 'cause it's kinda slick-like if you use too much.  Then toward the end, add a little cabbage; I can't use as much as I'd like, 'cause my kids won't eat it if there's too much cabbage.  You can add celery if you got it." 
"No tomatoes?"
So I went home and created the first of many batches of hamburger stew.  It's really just vegetable-beef soup, using browned ground beef for the meat.  I experimented and found I wasn't afraid to use more barley.  After several years, I started adding some canned tomatoes, simply because I like to pack all the veggies into a dish as possible.  Vegetables are good for you!  
When available, I also add some okra... not too much, or you WILL have some slick soup.  
Every time I make hamburger stew, I think of Ruthanne, and remember how a simple conversation led to one of our favorite wintertime dishes around here.  
And it amazes me that I still remember that conversation with someone I haven't seen in thirty years.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

We make Meat ball stew here but it really is like your hamburger stew with out the barley. I never thought to add that. It might make a nice difference. Thanks for the tip. Veggies are good for us and I don't eat enough of them.

Tipper said...

Sounds good! Tried and true dishes usually turn out to be the best-like this one that you've used through the years.

Anonymous said...


Hollie said...

Sounds delicious! I sure wish I lived close to you. I'd be dropping by in hopes of a big ole bowl of that. Mmmmmm

Lindie said...

Sounds good. I love adding lots of vegetables too. I wonder if I put in lentils instead of barley how that would be. (have lentils on hand!) Made turkey vegetable soup last week with homemade turkey stock and about 10 kinds of vegetables!

anjelblaze said...

Mo, here is an easy one.
3 chicken breasts, cubed
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 lb pasta, either ebows or flat
salt and pepper to taste

Brown cubed chicken
add the mushroom soup with either 2 cans of water or milk, let simmer
cook pasta according to directions, then combine and add the veggies of your choice
top with grated parmesan cheese
Takes about 30 mins start to finish

Midlife Mom said...

You are all making me hungry with the good recipes! That stew with a nice big bisquit would make for such a good meal on a cold day!

Jess said...

Hey there hope all is well!

Sadie is lookin cute as ever in the snow pic.

Havea great week

Love, Jess

Carlene Noggle said...

I also make this but never used barley...I love to make an iron skillet of corn bread to go with mine!

DesLily said...

yup... around my house that was called "chop meat soup"! lol all sorts of veggies with ground beef as a base.. I still make it but now I use ground turkey since I can't have red meat.. tastes the same LOL