We’re all about learning some historical recipes around here. And, the Great Depression was a really interesting time in culinary history. The invention of many more pre-packaged foods, combined with the slump in income and the Dust Bowl years that affected production meant that many families were eating frugal.
This one-pot Great Depression meal (humorously called “goop”) has everything all in one pan and feeds 4 on just 2 servings of ground beef. It’s dishes like these, along with John Marzetti and Hoover stew, that got people through tough times. And, in the process they’ve often become family favorites!
To start making this recipe brown your ground beef then add in chopped mushrooms and onions. The mushrooms really add to the “meaty” flavor and texture without adding in more meat.
Then add in the rest of the ingredients, including chopped celery, green pepper, rice, bullion, and pasta. This recipe calls for orzo, but you can use short vermicelli, macaroni, or even egg noodles if you like.
You can also add other vegetables if you have them, like eggplant, zucchini, or carrots. I could also see adding some canned tomatoes and/or canned chilis here, too. But, the base recipe remains a solid one that you can add to whenever you’re feeling like a change. Cover and let this stew for 35-40 minutes.
This tasty meal that only uses up one pan. And, you can save the rest of that pound of ground beef for another meal, just as they would have done in the 1930s.
"Goop" Great Depression Dinner
15m prep time
1h 2m cook time
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 1/2 cup orzo or short vermicelli
- 1 chicken or beef bullion cube
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 3/4 cups water
- Cook meat stock pot over medium heat until just beginning to brown. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add chopped onion and mushroom. Cook until onions begin to turn translucent.
- Add the rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and cook (covered) for 35-45 minutes. If mixture becomes dry in cooking add 1/4 cup of water at a time until rice is cooked and meal is moist. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve piping hot.
Recipe adapted from The Lazy Gastronome.