Monday, February 17, 2014

Chopped Beef Potpourri, Woman's Day February 1949 and bonus recipe Speedy Artesian Bread

This recipe was originally published in a 1938 Women's Day issue.  It was part of an article called "Our Best 64 Hamburger Recipes".  That's a lotta beef!  Perfect for my carnivore hubby.  In 1949 this recipe costs only $0.14 to make.  Using the CPI Inflation calculator that's $1.37 in today's dollars.  Food prices sure have gone up independent from inflation because I spent way more that that!

Chopped Beef Potpourri is just ground beef stew.  It's a great all in one meal (Includes protein, veggies, grains, and starch.) to make on a weekend and there's enough for leftovers throughout the week.  Judging from the ingredients it would probably freeze well.  Warning:  total cooking time is 2 hours.  Plan accordingly.  ( I caught the end of Hairspray and about half of Grease while making dinner tonight.  Yes, I was in the kitchen a good looooong time!)  I also made an herbed artesian bread using a speedy version of my Aunt Alice's favorite bread recipe.  I'll post my fast recipe below but click on the link to see the original.  It's not vintage but it's a keeper.  Even if you've never made bread before you can make this recipe.  Really.

Here's the original Chopped Beef Potpourri:

Here's my version, aka Ground Beef Stew:

  • 1 Lb Ground Beef
  • 2 Large onions, sliced 
  • 1/3C Barley
  • 2 1/2C Diced tomatoes (about a can and a half using two 14.5 oz cans)
  • 1 1/2 Quarts water
  • 2 Beef bullion cubes
  • 1T Salt (or less depending on the saltiness of your bullion)
  • 1/2t pepper
  • 3 Carrots, sliced
  • 2 Large potatoes, diced
  • 3 Stalks celery, diced
  • 2t A-1 steak sauce
  • 1/2t Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic powder to taste

First brown the ground beef in a BIG pot over a medium high heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes lowering the heat if necessary to avoid burning them.  You'll see the original recipe calls for 3 onions.  Remember my whole thing about onion sizing?  How I'm betting they're larger now?  Well if not click on the "onion sizing" label on the right.  Here's how much onion I used:
The onions on a 9 inch salad plate.
Heat the water and add the two bullion cubes.  Dissolve completely and add to the beef and onions along with the barley, tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  Cover and simmer over a low to medium low heat for one hour.  (This is when I baked the bread.  I mixed up earlier so it had already risen.)

Add the veggies, sauces, and garlic powder.  Stir well and cover and simmer for another hour.  Here's what you get:

This was after dinner.  The pot was filled to the ring around the top.
About half was left.  Not sure why the color is off.  Probably the lighting.

I was lucky to have another helpful taster tonight as my son is having a friend sleep over.  These boys are such little men!  Both agreed that they loved the meat and the potatoes best.  When I asked them to describe the flavor they called it "meaty".  Hubby liked their description adding that he thought it would taste even better if I made meatballs to join the pound of ground beef already in the stew.  (I supposed then I could call it "caveman stew" which would be kind of funny like I'm Betty Rubble.  "Barney, your caveman stew is ready!!!")  One daughter didn't care for it but the other loved dipping the bread in the juice.  The puppy of course loved the little taste he got.  Here he is looking cute and hoping for more.

Focus on the doggie, not the stuff on the counter.
Cooking is messy.  At least in my kitchen.

Now on to the bread!  

Speedy Artesian Bread

3C Regular flour (NOT bread flour!)
2t Rapid rise yeast (1 heaping T of regular yeast can be substituted.)
1.5t Salt
1.5C Warm water

Seasonings:  I used about 2 tablespoons dried chives, a few shakes each- garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano and about 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.  Be creative and add what you like.  Start with a little and smell it to make sure your combo works for you.  Then add more if you feel like it. 

Use a large mixing bowl.  Put in the flour, yeast, salt, and seasonings if you're using them.  (This bread is awesome plain too!)  Mix well.  Add the water.  Mix really well, scraping as much of the flour off the sides of the bowl as you can.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise.  Since it was cold today and my counters are on an outside wall I turned on the oven while I was mixing to warm up the room a bit.  Let rise for 3-4 hours.  (The regular recipe takes 12 hours to rise.)  The dough will be bigger, spongy and you'll see air bubbles when it's ready.  

Preheat your oven to 450.  When hot put in a heavy covered pot large enough to hold the dough when it rises even more.  I use a cast iron Le Creuset pot like this one.  (On a side note these are awesome and definitely worth the price.  My brother still has one of our mother's and he uses it all the time.  I plan on passing mine down to my kiddos.  Luckily I have a few different sizes, as I do kids!)  Leave the pot in the oven for 30 minutes so it's really hot.  While it's heating use a rubber spatula to loosen the dough from the bowl and pour it onto the center of a large piece of parchment paper.  Use the spatula to reshape if you wish or leave it how it falls.  Cover with the plastic wrap while you wait for the pot to heat.  

When the pot is hot carefully take it out of the oven using hot mitts.  (The term "hot mitts" comes from a night of wine and dinner in my not so big old kitchen with me, my friend Janet, our hubbies, and our collective 7 kids running through every so often.  I can't remember what the meal was but when I needed to take it out of the oven my middle aged fuzzy brain couldn't think of the words "oven mitts" and the term hot mitts was born.)  Remove the plastic wrap and carefully lower the dough loaded parchment paper into the pot.  Cover (And use your hot mitts please!!  The lid will be HOT.) and put in the oven for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 10 to 15 minutes until brown and yummy looking like this:    

The left loaf is plain and the right is the herbed.  I used a square Le Creuset pot for the plain and my smallest round for the herbed.

Using your trusty hot mitts turn the pot over and let the bread fall out onto a cooling rack.  Remove the parchment paper and flip the loaf right side up.  Let cool before slicing.  A serrated knife cuts best.

Either version of the bread is delicious with/for soups, stews, grilled sandwiches, toast, etc.  My friend Lauren, who probably hasn't had bread in 10 years, tried a little that I brought over on her "cheat day" and she loved it.  She had it with smoked Gouda.  (I'm drooling just thinking about it.  My poor computer.) Full disclosure- Lauren has an awesome figure to match her awesome willpower.  I feel kind of bad I tempted her but the bread was really for her also awesome fiancĂ© Brad, who loved it too.  

I make the plain version of this bread weekly.  It's become our "house" bread.  I've searched for years to find a bread recipe my kids like to replace the store bought varieties.  This isn't soft like store bought though.  It works for us except for pb&j's.  So guess what?  The kids are eating less pb&j!  They practically lived on them for the first 7 years of their lives so I don't feel too bad.  



  1. Hi, Sarah. Thanks for this beef recipe ~ I'm going to try it for the hubs! I think he'll like it. Oh! And your pooch? Adorable:)

  2. That looks sooo good. Your husband sounds like mine. Whenever I asked him what might make something better he says things like "more meat" or "add bacon."

    Your puppy clearly is a foodie. : )

    1. Ah so it is a man thing. And yes, I think my 4th child is a foodie too! ;)

  3. Hi Sarah, I don't remember this post. I love homemade bread, the easier the better. How long would you say that the bread lasts before spoiling? And exactly how do you store it? Thanks!

    1. Aileen, after about 2-3 days it does't taste as fresh but it's still ok so I put it in the fridge to prolong its flavor. When I first bake the bread I let it cool and then wrap it in foil and leave it on the counter. As the foil gets torn I sometimes put it into a zip bag in addition to the foil.

      I've also made a few loaves at once and frozen them. I double wrap in foil and put it in a freezer weight zip bag for freezing.

      Another tip I figured out after the original post- if you don't have rapid rise yeast in the house use one heaping tablespoon of regular. I know it's a lot but I bought my yeast at Costco this time and didn't realize it was regular. For the price it's not so bad to use more. And don't use bread flour!! It doesn't work for this recipe.

      Let me know if you try it!


  4. Thanks for the tips, Sarah!

    I used rapid rise yeast recently in a roll recipe and used the instructions on the yeast package instead of the recipe itself. Didn't turn out very well. As far as bread flour, I never buy it. I like to keep things simple and if a recipe says to specifically use only bread flour I just skip the recipe. :)