Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stored food Night - Chinese Savory Beef (Venison)

As promised, this is the first installment of "Stored Food Night" recipes.  One thing that you have to take into account when cooking and baking with stored foods is the amount of time needed to prepare them.  Unlike the majority of food we are used to eating, stored foods take time to prepare properly.  And truthfully, it is not that stored foods take a long time to prepare, it is that preparing "real" food takes time, just ask your Grandma.

For dinner this evening, I made Chinese Savory Beef (although it was actually canned venison), Sheepherders rolls, long grained rice, canned green beans and canned peaches.

I started with grinding the wheat to make the Sheepherders Bread and Rolls.  This is an old recipe that was given to me by my wonderful friend, Lady Titus II.  Her dad used to make this bread all of the time in a dutch oven over an open fire.  I used Hard Red Winter Wheat, as it has a sufficient gluten content to produce wonderful yeast bread.  This bread recipe is perfect for a stored foods supply because it uses no fresh ingredients!

I ground some of the grain in our Diamont hand grinder (with help), although, most of the wheat went through our electric Nutrimill grinder.  We can grind the grains by hand if we have to, but I am very thankful to have an electric grinder!  By the way, always grind your grain right before you want to use it.  Wheat begins to lose its nutritional value within 24 hours after you grind it.

Miss Calamity and the Diamont
(It would take about an hour and a half to grind
18 cups of flour grinding continually)
Freshly ground flour in the Nutrimill hopper
Dough after first rising
Rolls, fresh from the wood cookstove

Sheepherders Bread, crusty from the wood heat

Sheepherders Bread (Rolls)

6 C. Warm Water
1 C. Vegetable Oil
1 C. Honey
4 tsp. Salt
4 Tbl. Yeast
18 C. Flour (freshly ground wheat)

Combine the water, oil, honey, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.  Stir to dissolve the yeast.  Allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes (sponge) to proof the yeast.  Add 15 cups of flour.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead.  Add flour as needed (dough gets very sticky).  Knead for 10 minutes (by hand - if you have a Bosch or other mixture, knead for 8 minutes).  Put dough into a greased bowl to rise.  Cover with a clean towel.  Let rise until double.  Punch dough down.  Let rise until almost double.  Punch down again.  Form into loaves or rolls.  Let rise until double.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until tests done.  (For raisin bread, I add 2 T Cinnamon and 1 C. raisins).

Bread takes practice.  The amount of flour that you use in any bread recipe depends on the amount of humidity in the air.  I always start with less flour than the recipe calls for and continue to add flour until the dough "feels" right.  It should be soft and pliable, slightly sticky but not sticky enough to stick to your fingers.  It is hard to explain, it is more of a feel thing, but with practice, you will learn the "feel".

After making bread dough, I put the jars of peaches in the snow to cool.  My family much prefers chilled fruit to room temperature fruit.

Later in the afternoon, I put the Chinese Savory Beef on to simmer.  I used canned venison rather than fresh meat, which requires very little cooking time.

Draining the liquid from the canned venison
Putting the meat into my Dutch oven
Putting in dried garlic and onion
Pouring the soy sauce
Pouring in the cornstarch (for thickener)
And here you have it!

Chinese Savory Beef (More with Less Cookbook)

Heat in heavy skillet or Dutch oven:
  2 T. oil or minced fat from beef
Add and quick-fry until brown:  (I didn't have to do this using canned meat)
  2 lb. lean beef, cut in 1 1/2" squares (may use very tough meat)
Add and quick-fry a few minutes:
  3 scallions, chopped OR 1 onion, chopped
  2 cloves garlic, crushed
  (I used dried onions and garlic from storage)
  1 C. soy sauce
  1/8 tsp. pepper
  6 C. water
  (I double the original amounts of liquid called for - I have already doubled it in this   recipe)

Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 3 hours (I simmered mine for about 1 hour due to the meat being canned).  Add more liquid if needed.  Just before serving thicken with small amount of cornstarch stirred into water.  Serve over rice or noodles.

When fresh vegetable are in season, I love to put fresh cut broccoli in the Chinese Savory Beef at the last minute.

We made long grain white rice to go along with our Chinese Savory Beef.  It makes a wonderful accompaniment and most people have a supply in their stored foods.  We don't measure anything when we make rice.  We pour the appropriate amount of rice into a pot (generally about 3/4 C. per person) and fill the pot with cold water.  We wash the rice about 3 or 4 times, or until the water we pour off comes clean.  We then put water in the rice so that it measures one knuckle (on your index finger) over the top of the rice.  When we cook long grained rice, we fill the water to about 1 1/2 knuckles.  Put the rice on high (uncovered) and bring it to a slow boil.  When the rice boils, stir, cover with a tight fitting lid and scooch over to low.  Let the rice cook for 20 minutes (25 for long grained) undisturbed.  After 20 minutes, your rice will be cooked to perfection!

Measuring the water level with a "knuckle"
Stirring as the rice reaches boiling point
Perfect rice!
It is essential to cook with your stored foods.  Don't wait until you have to.  Store what you will use and like and know how to prepare it!  Your efforts will be lauded by your family and you will have confidence in your abilities when the grid goes down!


  1. Enola, the way you finely dice your venison to can is impressive. Yesterday I canned venison, butit was in larger chunks. Think I like yours better and will have to try it that way.
    In the 70's I bought a Diamont, but had to add a motor to it...I wouldn't trade it for anything. The handle is close by if needed.
    Your meal looks yummy! Pass the butter...

  2. Enola,
    What brand of yeast do you use? I sponge mine also, but barely get a few bubbles even after 10 minutes. Do you think my yeast is bad? It does rise the bread so that I do not have bricks. I have been using Fleischmann's in the jar from the grocery store. And I keep it in the refrigerator (due to our TX heat). Any tips?

    By the way, the rolls are beautiful! Thanks!!

    Diane in TX

  3. Why did you drain your meat?
    Everything looks yummy! We have been using our stored foods as my husband lost his job. It is fun being creative.

  4. The rolls look better than what I could get at a bakery, nicely uniform in shape and size and perfectly browned. The venison dish is so appealing I would eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After seeing that the recipe came from the More With Less Cookbook, I am going to order a copy the next time I buy something from Amazon (I'll go through your blog to do that).

    Thank you for including all the details for these recipes. And the photos are very helpful.

    NoCal Gal

  5. Save the Canning JarsDecember 1, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    I got so excited when I saw your grinder and bread. I, too, use my Nutrimill electric, but have a Family Grain Mill manual grinder, made in Germany? It's OK but I'm thinking I need something more rugged. Don't want to spend 1 1/2 hrs. though. Anybody know what is manual, rugged, and fast?

  6. Our stored meal tonight was, turkey gravy over brown rice, green beans and scones. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

    I have a Country Living Mills, it is very rugged (made of mostly cast iron). It has the ability to be hooked up to a generator or bicycle for power. We use it manually right now, my two daughters and I take turns using it. I highly recommend it. It is made in WA state.

  7. I'm making this meal for myself tonight - sans the rolls. Instead of venison, I'll be using beef that I had in the freezer and which needs to be used. Had to dig out the dutch oven from the garage and re-season it, but it's good to go now. Can't wait, I'll have enough leftovers for another few meals.

    NoCal Gal

  8. NoCal Gal;
    You have to let me know how it turns out! I can't wait to get your review!

    Lanita & Savethecanningjars;
    I have heard nothing but good things about the Country Living grain mill. It is what our best friends use and it is what my folks use. As for reducing the time spent grinding - I think you might be out of luck! Our (the Diamont) is supposed to be the fastest hand grinder on the market, but grinding grain by hand it just a lot of hard work, any which way you look at it!

    I just drain the meat because it is the juices that come out when canning. Leaving it in the meat could produce a "gamey" flavor. However, in a real survival situation, it might be wise to leave the juices in the meat because of the nutritional value.

    I use Red Star yeast from Costco. I, too, keep mine in the refrigerator once I have opened the package. My yeast always gets all foamy after about 10 to 15 minutes. It sounds like your bread turns out well. I wouldn't worry too much about it, however, you might want to check the temp of your liquid when you add your yeast. Perfect temp is about 110 degrees. To cold and it doesn't activate the yeast and too hot and it kills the yeast. After doing it for a while, you get the feel and don't have to take it's temp anymore!


  9. Enola, I love this recipe!!

    I used London broil for the meat, cut it into cubes, browned it and when it was tender (about 3.5 hours later) shredded it by using 2 forks. The meat was very tender by then and the flavors had permeated all the way through the cubes. I used dehydrated minced onions, garlic powder, low sodium soy sauce, 1 can beef broth, 3 cups water (didn't need to add thickener), and 1/4 tsp pepper.

    When I cook rice, I don't use the knuckle-method, but I don't measure anything either. I just eyeball it. If I have too much water, I let it simmer without the lid. If there is not enough water, I just add some and bring up the temperature for a short time.

    The canned green beans were heated until steaming hot in their own juice, then drained. Like your family, I prefer canned peaches cold so I tried putting them outside for 24 hours to see if they would be satisfactorily chilled. There is no snow here, but the temperatures have been unusually cold, so I gave it a try. Although the peaches were cool, they were not as cold as I normally prefer - so I'll chalk that up to lesson learned.

    This is the type of hearty meal I enjoy. I will definitely relish the leftovers. For tomorrow's dinner, instead of rice, I'll make mashed potatoes using canned new potatoes. I love rice, but always seem to let it boil over. Won't have that problem with potatoes!

    Next time I make this meal, I'll try using teriyaki sauce instead of the soy sauce, just for a change. And I'll add some frozen broccoli or have canned asparagus instead of green beans. Ah, the variations are endless!!

    So, my "review" is EXCELLENT AND EASY - doesn't get any better than that as far as I'm concerned. Even a poor cook like I am can handle this meal. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    One of these days, I'll tackle the rolls.

    NoCal Gal

  10. Ok so this probably isn't the best place to put this question...but here goes. I am trying to learn to can and so I bought all the stuff and decided to can some ground beef because there was a sale and I had some left over. So I'm wondering do I NEED to cook the ground beef before canning? Does it help with the process or just add more work? What are your thoughts? I read your blog faithfully and know that you can just about everything so I know you'll have some answers.
    Thanks so much!

  11. NoCal Gal;
    I am SO glad you like the recipe. Your version sounds wonderful!

    In my experience, you should brown the hamburger first. If you don't brown it, it will resemble a large, slimy meatloaf! Generally, I like to season my burger for what I intend to use it for. If I want taco meat, I brown it and add taco seasoning (don't use as much as you normally would - the spices strengthen in the canner). If I want bbq burger, I add bbq sauce. If I want plain hamburger, I brown and add salt and pepper and pack into a jar. I never add liquid to meat when canning. You will always end up with some liquid (from the meat) and that works out great. If you add water, you end up with a slimy mess! Hope this helps. I would love to know how it turns out!


  12. Love the recipes - one thing though - don't drain the canned venison down the sink, it has SO much flavor in it, use it as liquid in your recipe. I add a tbsp of chopped onions and peppers to every jar when I can venison - *yummy*!

  13. RE: Your rice, may I offer an alternative recipe?

    Twice the volume of water as you will be using rice (2 cups water for 1 cup rice) heated to boiling in a pot.

    Add the rice (and 2tbsp butter if feeling decadent) without rinsing, as I've heard rinsing rice removes nutrients. Cover, and once water begins to boil again, turn temperature to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, then move off heat with lid still on for 10 minutes (allowing moisture to be fully absorbed). Fluff with a fork and serve!

  14. Hello! I just found your blog and I am really enjoying it!
    I also wondered why you drained your jar of venison as the juice/liquid is the best part! I have never had a jar that tasted gamey or wild and I have been canning venison for 40 years or more.
    BTW - have you ever made a venison meatroll? Your homemade dough would make a really fantastic one.
    Just roll out the dough like you would for cinnamon rolls. Sprinkle the dough with the drained (reserve the juice/liquid) venison chunks, and roll the dough up. Let rise, or however you do it for cinnamon rolls, and bake. Make gravy with the reserved venison juice/liquid and serve it over the slices of meatroll.
    It's easy, it's delicious, and it's healthy!
    Thanks again for sharing your blog.