Have you ever attended an outdoor gathering where stew was made in a 25-gallon caldron and stirred with a four-foot wooden spoon? The experience will be as interesting as the people, all seated in folding chairs cupping a bowl of homemade goodness. With the first taste, the mind is comforted by warmth, good flavor, and the yearning for more spoonfuls. While the event of making approximately 20 gallons of stew is sweeter in the company of good, hungry friends, the outcome allows you to anticipate a future day when the question, “What are we having for dinner?” ends in a trip down to the freezer. Just imagine, pulling out a gallon of homemade soup, and eating a quarter of an hour later!
To save money in buying ingredients, consider locations which offer bulk goods for your potatoes, onions, meats, and in buying #10 cans of tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, creamed corn and other vegetables. Warehouse stores also will accommodate your need for larger amounts of butter, salt, and black and red pepper. While it’s good to have these ingredients on hand throughout the year, it will ease the expense on your next endeavor to make a large quantity of food.
Step #1, Day #1: Whether by hand or using a food processor, you will need to chop ten pounds of yellow onions and cube 25 pounds of potatoes. (To simplify space in your refrigerator, use gallon sized Ziploc bags.)
A Pressure Cooker
Step #2: Add 10 pounds of stew beef and 10 pounds of chicken to a pressure cooker, and allow the contents to thoroughly cook. (To remove the lid safely, the best practice is to turn off the heat and wait until the temperature drops, causing the pressure to lower naturally.) You’ll find the meat will remain juicy, and fall apart beautifully. This process takes a minimum of three hours.
Day #2: This recipe requires a 22 to 25-gallon caldron, and to ensure heat is continuous and even, a variable, low-pressure propane burner. You may want to place a metal shield around your caldron in the event winds arrive to blow out the flame.
Step #3: The first ingredients should be wet; therefore, pour in the half gallon of tomato paste, and drain first, the two gallons of crushed tomatoes. After draining the water, add a half-gallon of creamed corn, and two pounds of butter. Stir. In no particular order, add the remaining ingredients: the combined twenty pounds of stew beef and chicken thighs, one and a half gallons each of lima beans, peas, and corn, ten pounds of both onions and potatoes, a quarter pound of salt, an eighth pound of black pepper, and a fourth pound of red pepper.
Step #4: Stir thoroughly once all the ingredients are added, and cover with aluminum foil. Periodically, remove the foil to stir, remembering to hit the bottom of the caldron, and check. Once the stew has risen to a simmer, a low-boil, it is ready to eat.
Step #5: Two options are available for freezing. You may use a Styrofoam cup with lid, or a freezer bag of varying sizes to suit your needs. (When pouring your stew into a container, leave ample room at the top of your container or bag for expansion.
Step #6-7: Place the stew in the refrigerator prior to laying it upright or flat in the freezer. The stew needs time to assimilate in temperature to ensure the contents remain as an even mixture.
Other Soup Suggestions:
In the need for comfort, what defines your expectation? Do you enjoy combining an amazing texture such as brisket with the enriched flavor of chili con carne, or would you rather enjoy a classic such as a variety of vegetables and stew beef in a broth? Whether it is a family or personal favorite, making the ultimate comfort food can be quite simple. Once a few recipes are found, you can make a batch annually. Keep track of how fast you go through your frozen meals. In the following year, you may decide to double the recipe! Good luck!