Hamburger Stew

Ah, fall: when the leaves start changing, the air becomes crisp and cool, and sunsets seem to become more vivid. It’s also when the sun starts setting earlier (for some of us anyway), reminding me that winter is on it’s way and my craving for comfort food kicks in.

Normally, I dislike fall. To me, it’s a reminder that winter is fast approaching and that the days are getting progressively shorter and shorter. Sure, I love looking at the reds, oranges and yellows displayed by the trees. I like kicking around the crunchy leaves as I walk through them and it’s nice that it’s not sweltering hot outside anymore. But winter hits me like a ton of bricks. Soon it will be time to break out my blue light in an effort to shoo away S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

One of the dishes I start craving is from my childhood and is a simple but filling dish. I have no idea where it originated. The ingredients are basic enough that I am inclined to say that one of my grandmothers probably created it, but my mother was also in a cake club when I was young and drew recipes from there. Thankfully, this is one of the recipes I got from her and actually wrote down as a quick search on the internet finds nothing.

This dish is simple, both in ingredients and taste. The veggies are mellow in flavor and the soy sauce kind of invades everything, in a good way if you don’t mind the taste of it! My family’s recipe calls for ground beef, but since I try to limit red meat, I used turkey instead and it turned out just fine. And, as is typical of a lot of cooking recipes, the ratios are not absolute. My celery had been sitting in the fridge for a few days and some of the stalks didn’t meet my standards. We also didn’t have a full bag of baby carrots, so we used some I had bought at the farmer’s market last summer and had blanched. So, if you like one veggie more than the other, feel free to adjust the amounts.

Hamburger Stew
Serves 6-8 people


1 pound carrots, baby or regular, chopped

1 pound celery, chopped

1 pound ground beef (or meat of your choice – I used turkey)

1/2 – 3/4 cup soy sauce

2-3 tablespoons corn starch


6 servings rice


1. Chop the carrots and celery into roughly 1/4-inch pieces. Place in a pot and cover with enough water that all of the veggies are just covered. (You don’t want them drowning as you will be using the water, but you don’t want them sticking out and not cooking.) Bring to a boil over medium heat and let simmer until carrots are cooked through.

2. While the carrots and celery are cooking, brown the meat in a large skillet. (You will want room for the veggies and water, so choose your deepest pan.) Drain the grease. Set aside, if necessary, until carrots and celery are cooked.

3. In a small bowl, combine water and corn starch until the mixture resembles cream. Set aside.

4. Cook the rice according to the package. (I used instant white rice as that was what my family always used.)

5. Once the carrots are thoroughly cooked, add the veggies and water to the cooked meat. Add the soy sauce. Stir in the corn starch mixture. Cook over medium-low heat and allow to simmer until the sauce has thickened to a thin gravy consistency (about 10-15 minutes). Serve over rice.

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