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Bachelor's Budget Beef Stew

When I was a kid growing up in Australia, one of the cheapest meats you could buy was "mince," or, as you know it , hamburger. It wasn't the quality-controlled substance you buy today, but the ground remnants of everything the butcher ouldn't sell otherwise, not quite as unpalatable as what he ground further and put into his store-made sausages, but close. As my parents were very poor, we ate a lot of it, and my mother devised all sorts of recipes to make it palatable. One was a sort of hamburger beef stew , which I still make for myself today when I have a little left-over raw hamburger meat. It is a one-pot recipe. For want of a better name, here is Bachelor's Budget Beef Stew.

(Serves 2 or 3)

  • 1 lb lean hamburger meat
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup diced carrot
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ½ 1/2 cup slivered mushrooms
  • salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon beef powder (or ½ bouillon cube)
  • ½ cup chopped cabbage*
  • 1 tablespoon uncooked long grain rice*
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder*
  • ½ cup diced raw potato
  • Cornstarch to thicken

(Preparation: 15 Minutes. Cooking: 90 minutes)
  1. In a little oil, in a heavy pot, skillet, or even an electric frying pan. over medium heat, crumble the meat and stir, browning just slightly, just enough to get the red out.
  2. Add onion, carrot, and celery.
  3. Add garlic powder, pepper and salt, bouillon, and about 1/3 cup water.
  4. Add mushrooms, cabbage, rice, and curry powder. Stir well.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer 90 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Add a little more water as necessary to keep the mixture liquid.
  6. About 30 minutes before serving add the diced potatoes.
  7. About 10 minutes before serving, mix about a teaspoonful of cornstarch with an 1/8 cup cold water and pour into the stew, stirring well. Allow to simmer a few more minutes.
  8. Serve over toast or with rice or noodles.

Ted's Note: The items marked with an asterisk (*) are the recipe's "secret ingredients." They give it texture and flavor. The curry powder is not really enough to give it a curry flavor, but does add tremendously. In my childhood in Oz, curry was often used to disguise the taste of slightly rancid meat. As we didn't have refrigerators until I was in my early teens, there was a lot of slightly rancid meat - and a lot of curry!

Contributed by Ted