I know this jar of meat doesn't look all that appealing, but I promise you that inside this jar is the tastiest quick meal starter ever.
Let's face it. Even those of us who thoroughly enjoy cooking and are committed to making food from scratch for our families, need a few quick and easy meals every now and then. The way I see it, we have two choices. We can buy heavily processed convenience foods filled with who knows what, or we can create some convenience foods of our own. I'd rather make my own. My favorite "convenience" food is canned stew meat.
Canning meat is a little time consuming, but the process is easy and the time involved is mostly passive while the pressure cooker is running.
First you need meat. Canning is perfect for the tougher cuts of meat. I can the leg meat and other small pieces from venison, but this process works for other red meats like beef, lamb or pork. This is a great way to preserve meat when you come across a fabulous sale.
Trim as much fat as possible, and cut the meat into cubes or chunks.
Pack raw meat into clean, hot jars. Loose pack and leave one inch head space. Put lids and rings on.
Process at 11 pounds pressure; 75 minutes for pints, and 90 minutes for quarts.
As the meat cooks under pressure it becomes extremely tender. Far more tender than I've ever been able to cook stew meat on the stove or in the oven. It also creates its own broth. The meat and broth together make a delicious quick start to a meal.
So, how do you use canned stewed meat? Here are some ideas:
Soups or Stews.
It is great for chili, vegetable soup, beef stew or any other stew or soup you like to make that calls for meat. Just add some water, tomato juice or more broth, vegetables, and spices.
You may need to drain the meat a little for this use. Reserve the broth for later use. Mix in vegetables throw it in a crust and bake.
Beef and Noodles
Cook the noodles in broth. Add the stew meat and spices, and thicken with sour cream or corn starch.
Sautee mushrooms and onions. Add some flour and then slowly add in the meat with the broth to create a gravy. Serve over mashed potatoes, toast or both, hot roast beef sandwich style.
Drain the meat. Add barbecue sauce. Heat and eat.
Beef and Rice
Cook rice in broth and water with spices and vegetables. Add in the meat.
I love having this ready cooked meat on hand to use when I've failed to plan or the plan has failed. It is cheaper, tastier, and likely more nutritious than any convenience food I could pick up at the store.
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