Canning and food storage means I can make meals, like this quick beef stew, in half an hour that should take all day.

One of the best things about having home-preserved food storage is that I can often make a meal with almost no notice, including dishes that typically take hours.

Spaghetti and meatballs?

I’ve got you covered.

Slow cooked chicken soup? Not a problem.

Beef Stew? Under half an hour and we’re eating.

And that’s with dumplings.

Do you have a copy of A Cabin Full of Food yet? It’s the from-scratch, homesteading cookbook used by homesteaders all over the world.

Twenty-Five Minute Beef Stew from Food Storage

1 pint stewed beef
1 quart carrots
1 quart (or 4 cups cooked, cut up) potato
1 pint corn or whatever other vegetable you have/like
1 pint beef broth (or tomato juice or V-8 or even beer)
You might want more liquid than that, but try a pint first
Dumplings – 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tablespoons butter or lard, milk to make a dough

The basic idea behind stew is this:

Stew: meat that has been cooked in its own juices and tenderized + lots of vegetables + some sort of tasty liquid + spices

That’s all there is to it.

If the meat and vegetables have been pressure-canned, 99% of the cooking has already been done. This – your home-canned meat – is a fabulous way to use the delicious garlic scapes you harvested from your growing garlic. (Not sure what else to do with them? Read this and find out how to cook garlic scapes!)

Dump all of the stew ingredients (beef, carrots, potato, other vegetables, broth) in a big pot and put it on medium-high heat. Add spices if you have/like them. Italian Seasoning is easy and tasty.  Thyme is good, as is rosemary and garlic.  Taste it to see if it needs salt or pepper.

Potatoes are optional – the stew meat, gravy and vegetables are just as good served over a baked potato or mashed potatoes, with fries, or alongside thick pieces of homemade bread.

As it heats up, get out a bowl and mix together 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Use a pastry cutter or two knifes to cut in 2 tablespoons lard or butter. Stir in milk (fresh or canned) until you get a soft batter, kind of like pancake batter.

Drop the batter by tablespoons on top of the stew and then put the lid on. You’ll want the stew to be piping hot but not boiling. Cook for ten minutes, remove the lid and cook another ten minutes or until the dumplings are firm.

If you have made too much batter, it can be cooked in two batches. My family goes crazy over dumplings, so I double the amounts.

Sprinkle flour on your face before serving this, and smile because you did all of the hard work when you canned your meat and vegetables. #thisiswhyicanfood

Just Plain Living

Canning and food storage means I can make meals, like this quick beef stew, in half an hour that should take all day.