I’m not canning Adams Stew today … but I am eating it. My husband has tomorrow (Monday) off for his New Years holiday, so–after a Sunday of errands, having brunch with friends, etc.–we’re sitting here this evening enjoying a late night with NetFlix. You gotta love streaming video! I’d already fed him part of his muffaletta sandwich earlier … but I wasn’t hungry at the time. A couple of hours later, I realized I was finally peckish … so I opened a jar old this old favorite for myself … and decided to share the recipe with all of you
Adams Stew is what my mother always called it. It’s something she supposedly made up … and that was her name … so it just became Adams Stew around our house. Her version was pretty simple to make:
- brown a pound of hamburger with one large diced onion, a little salt, and a bit of black pepper: drain
- add a can of corn, a can of lima beans, and two cans of stewed tomatoes
- peel and cut approx. three-four pounds of potatoes into chunks, then add them as well
- add enough water to almost cover the solid ingredients about three-quarters of the way up
- bring to a boil, then put on the lid, turn the heat down to a good simmer, and cook till the potatoes are tender
It’s that easy, but not necessarily haute cuisine. Like lots of other home cooks in the 60s and 702, it was sort of her version of homemade Hamburger Helper. It’s hot, filling, and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to stretch a pound of hamburger when you’re feeding a family of six … like my folks were.
My husband doesn’t really like Adams Stew, but I don’t fault him for that. He has childhood recipes (like the Sausage Stew I make for him) that I don’t really like either. That makes those two recipes perfect for canning individual pint-sized servings of each one, some for each of us … so that we can each enjoy a personal favorite on occasion … without forcing the other one to endure an entire pot full of it for dinner sometimes … or having so many leftovers from one cooking that you’re absolutely SICK of it by the time you finish the pot. You know how that goes sometimes, especially when you can only cut the recipe back to be just so small … and you’re the only one eating it.
That’s when canning is an excellent solution … especially when you can create canned dishes that are–for the most part–cooked in the jar! They save time and energy, and they’re just so convenient that they will forever be part of our pantry!
To create “Cooks in the Jar” Adams Stew, just layer your ingredients in the jar like so:
As you can see, I started with a couple of tablespoons of canned corn out of my own pantry. You can also use fresh or canned corn from the store … plus, you can use creamed or whole-kernel … your choice! From there, I topped the corn with a couple of tablespoons of my canned lima beans (made from dry beans, also cooked in the jar) … but you can always use commercially-canned limas as well.
On top of the corn and limas, I filled about 1/4th of the total vertical height of the jar with chunks of peeled and rough-diced potato, then I topped the potato with a generous amount of browned hamburger and onions. Finally, I crowned each jar with canned tomatoes, making sure to leave at least an inch of headspace.
Once I got everything in all my jars, I finished each one off by adding enough boiling water to bring the liquid level up to one-inch of headspace, too. From there, I cleaned the lip of each jar, used the sterile lid/ring combo to seal it, and started loading jars into my pressure canner. I canned my Adams Stew according to the NCHFP recommendations for “meat: strips, cubes and chunks.” Why? you ask. This is not specifically a USDA/NCHFP-approved recipe, but I know it can be canned because all of the individual ingredients can be canned. However–since it’s a combo of several items–I have to make an educated guess about the timing.
Here’s how I like to do that: my hamburger meat has the longest pressure canning time recommendation of anything in my jar … so I run the batch like it’s all meat …. just to be sure everything gets done/sterilized properly.
It’s well worth it, too. Here’s my canned stew after a quick trip through the microwave:
Like I said, it’s definitely not haute cuisine. In truth, it’s basically what you could call American peasant food. But–regardless of its humble roots–it’s also filled with childhood memories for me, and it’s hot and filling on a cold day. It’s also amazingly easy to keep around when it’s in single-serving pints … pints you can–at least in part–cook in the jar … which makes them even more convenient!