Summer Stew Recipe
Years ago I worked in long-term home health care taking care of the elderly. One of the patients whom I adored and became quite close to raised seven children through the Great Depression, and she taught me many of the ways she was able to stretch a meal to feed nine people. The following recipe is one such dish that could be stretched to feed a multitude. It doesn’t really have a name, so I dubbed it “Summer Stew” because it utilizes end-of-the-garden produce or the never ending abundance of zucchini and summer squash.
Made with end of the garden produce, you can toss in just about any vegetables you want. On leftover night, it’s a great way to use up veggies that are starting to go limp or there’s only a spoonful left. Some of my favorites are okra, corn, celery, summer squash and zucchini.
For the tomatoes, store bought canned are fine and what I normally use. But when I have them, I prefer to use home-canned diced or stewed.
Ground beef, aka hamburger, is the protein source in this dish. Like most soups and stews, this recipe will stretch that pound of ground beef to feed a small army of people.
This summer when I was telling my dad about this recipe, he mentioned that his mother used to make a similar dish. However, because they were dirt poor (literally had dirt floors in their house) Grandma would take leftover oatmeal porridge and crumble it up. She would then fry it in bacon grease to give it a meaty flavor and add it to the dish. I admit, I was a bit skeptical, but I have since read a couple of different online sources state the same method. So in a pinch, if your budget needs a stretcher for meal time, there ya go.
- 1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 16 oz can V-8 or tomato juice OR
- 1 4 oz can tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups various vegetables such as corn, green beans, celery, onions, zucchini, okra
- 2 med potatoes, diced in small cubes
- 1 large onion, diced
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp parsley flakes
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- In a skillet, brown the ground beef and drain. Rinse if desired.
- In a heavy soup kettle add the tomatoes, juice or paste, water, vegetables, potatoes, onion and spices.
- Bring to a boil.
- Add drained ground beef.
- Stir and reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer until vegetables are fork tender.
- Serve with fresh biscuits, cornbread, or sliced bread.