Friday, November 9, 2012

Ground Beef Hobo Stew

Hobo Stew, made with ground beef, a mixture of vegetables, canned tomatoes and V-8.
Hobo Stew, made with ground beef, a mixture of vegetables, canned tomatoes and V-8.

Ground Beef Hobo Stew

Pantry friendly and adaptable, I just love this stew. In some variation and often depending on the type of meat you use, you may know this dish by the names of Campfire Stew, Girl Scout Camp Stew, Hobo Stew, Ground Beef Stew, Beggar Stew, Mulligan Stew, Poor Man's Stew or V8 Stew - just to name a few. I just settled on calling it a Ground Beef Hobo Stew.

Historically, a basic Dutch oven style stew that dates back to the early 1900s, it was slow cooked over the coals of an open campfire, often in a can (remember that from Girl Scouts?), or made up in a large casserole style foil packet.

It was a communal dish, often enhanced by the next contributor who showed up through the woods, with whatever he had. If you were a Girl Scout, you may well remember this camp-out routine, where we were each asked to each bring along a can of some kind of vegetable from home, which then got added to our own campfire stew.

Oh the memories of those days! We'll just keep it easy and take it stovetop or crockpot here.

There really aren't any hard and fast rules as to what goes in it, except some kind of meat, potatoes, a mixture of veggies and not much liquid. What else you add in, depends on what you have on hand and that is why I love it so much. It is a stew though, not a soup, so it should be thick and hearty, although with more liquid added, it also makes a mighty fine soup. A lot of folks actually call this recipe Hamburger Soup, Vegetable Soup, Vegetable Beef Soup or some variation of that.

For my stew, I like to use V-8 as my primary liquid.

I actually like and used to drink V-8 regularly, and no, not only in a Bloody Mary, though I certainly have enjoyed one of those a time or two in my life. I used to add it to soups and stews where I used tomatoes, though I'm not really quite sure why I stopped, except that V-8 got a little more expensive than my budget allowed, and it wasn't really a pantry staple for me like canned tomatoes are.

The blend of veggies in tomato juice found in V-8 is a perfect accent though for just about any soup or stew where you normally use tomatoes, so it's really no secret that cooks have been enhancing recipes with it for years.

This really is a wonderful stew, thick, hearty, filling - just perfect for these chilly days, and very easily adaptable to the slow cooker.

While not everybody does, I prefer to brown and drain ground meat before adding it to a crockpot recipe, but other than that, it's just dump all the ingredients in and let it cook till the veggies are tender. Scroll down for directions on how to make my version of Hobo Stew.

For more of my favorite soups and stews, visit my page on Pinterest!

Posted by on November 9, 2012
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