My blogging friend, Hoss Boss, over at Hoof 'n Barrel just thinks she had a rough canning day...LOL I had a rough canning weekend that began Friday and ended around 10:00PM Sunday night.
I have been eye-balling this Amish Poor Man's Steak recipe ever since I bought the 80 pounds of ground beef a week or so ago and since another blogger (Kris Watson) recommended it and I happened to have had 30 pounds of ground remaining I thought...Go For It!
Now this recipe has everything in it the food police says not to can. I did a lot of research on canning some things and have come to my own conclusion that this recipe is not going to kill me or my family. I'm going to write a blog on this subject soon and give you the links to back it up. Anyway...back to my canning adventure. I knew I did not own anything large enough to mix up all the ingredients so I went down to the Dollar General and bought a 35 quart Sterlite Container. After a little soap, bleach and drying I was ready.
I chopped 5 cups of celery
and 5 cups of onions
crushed 6 tubes of saltines which is 1 1/2 pounds
cracked open and whisked 2 dozen eggs
measured 5 cups of milk
All of these items were placed in my container as they were measured. Hey...that looks pretty. Now I know what a chef in a restaurant feels like adding huge amounts of ingredients.
the recipe just reads...salt and pepper. Don't you just hate it when that happens? So I added salt and pepper. I don't exactly remember how I came up with my equation but it worked out pretty well at the time. I figured the saltine crackers are salty and the condensed mushroom soup is going to be salty so I added what I thought would be right and I will tell you how much when (if) I find the piece of paper I scribbled it on..... Just in case you want to be as adventurous as me and try this recipe.
celery, onions, saltines, eggs, milk, salt and pepper mixed together. oh yeah...I'm really feeling chef like
time to add the 30 pounds of ground beef
now I warn you... Run you a sink of warm/hot water near where you are working. When you start mixing and mixing and mixing all of these cold ingredients with your washed, cleaned and naked hands you are going to want to plunge them into something very warm every few minutes. My hands were burning with cold. At this point I was feeling sorry for the chefs in restaurants who have to do this kind of stuff everyday.
I didn't get a picture of the mixing itself as my hands at this point was to numb with cold to hold the camera but this is what everything looked like when I started making the steak patties. I shoved all the ingredients to one side of the container and placed my patties on the other side using waxed paper to separate the stacks to prevent them from sticking.
I used the wide mouth rim and lid again to form the patties, just like I did when I made the meatloaf last week. Using this method will ensure the patties will fit into the wide mouth canning jars.
I only have one broiling pan and I have a lot, I mean a lot of meat to cook so I made another by using a large roasting pan with my cake racks over it. The Amish recipe reads to bake on cookie sheets but I want to drain as much fat as possible from them.
Between the broiling pan and the roasting pan, I could cook 27 patties at once.
I baked in preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes and alternated the pans about half way through cooking time. It took me a little over 4 hours to cook them all. I piled up 2 huge roasting pan and covered them with tinfoil and placed them in the refrigerator as they came from the oven.
When my last batch was baking (late Friday afternoon by this time) I started making the gravy. I had strained off some of the fat from the broiler and roasting pan and set aside to make the brown pan gravy. Trust me....save much more than this.
I put 1/2 cup of the strained fat into a skillet and heated over medium heat until hot.
I had already put 5 cans of the mushroom soup along with 5 cans of water in a pot to begin warming. I think this was almost 2 quarts. Trust me again. The recipe doesn't say how much gravy to make but you are going to need to make a lot. When I make this again I will try to get a good measurement. I had to make gravy 3 times during canning and even ended up using two more cans of soup than the recipe called for.
I added some of the mushroom soup mixture to the browned flour. Be careful...it gets angry during this procedure. Keep adding and stirring and things will calm down.
I then added my base from the skillet to the pot of mushroom soup, stirred it in well and simmered while I reheated patties in the microwave. I totally forgot to take a picture of filling the jars but you put a patty in the jar, cover that with the gravy mixture and then another patty and more gravy until the ingredients are one inch from the top. I got 5 patties in a jar.
I only did one canner load Friday evening as it was getting late and I was tired and disgusted. I no longer want to be a chef! When I was filling the 5th jar I realized my magnet was missing from the little wand thingy that I use to get the hot lids and bands out of the water. Here I am thinking that magnet has ended up in the 4th jar and I have no idea which jar is the 4th. So now I am thinking when they cool off I can kind of shake the jar and see if I can find the magnet but you know what? Little pieces of mushrooms floating around will look like a magnet as well. I guess I will mark these jars as "Magnetic Poor Man's Steak" and we'll be extra careful to look for the magnet as we open them for a meal. They looked great coming out of the canner. I processed these for 90 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure on my dial gauge.
One jar didn't seal so we got to have a sample. It is surprisingly very good and no...the magnet wasn't in that one. Papa Bear knew I was really worried about the magnet so he pulled the stove out form the wall. There was no magnet. He then took a ruler and ran it along the side edges of the stove and out flew the magnet. Apparently when it fell, it bounced and then stuck to the stoves bottom edge. I don't have to mark the jars "Magnetic Steak" after all. After all this drama... I am through for the day...On to Saturday.
Last week when I was canning Meatloaf, Italian Meat Sauce and Taco filling I grew so tired of having to watch the pressure dial. You can't turn your back on it for one minute and you constantly have to adjust the heat up or down. When you are having to process your items for 90 minutes this can be very tiresome and you are basically chained to the kitchen. Having to watch this dial actually got me searching on line for a new pressure canner. I wanted one with a weighted regulator so all I have to do is listen for the sound and rocking noise. Well low and behold in my search I found out that I could use a weighted regulator in place of the one I had. I found one at Amazon with free shipping and with the points I had it ended up costing me a little over $8.00.
I was hoping the new gadget was at the post office. Our mailbox is 3/4 miles down the road and the post office does not deliver packages down our road so I waited until the post office opened and called to see if it was there. Nope. My last hope is that it is a small enough item to be shipped in a padded envelope and it still may be in Saturdays mail. I decided to wait and work on the "Pazebo"
I thought we would be through with the Pazebo this week but we still have a few small things to finish. I got at least one coat of paint on everything Saturday in between deer watching. It's turning out really pretty. Next spring I will plant some flowering vines to climb the lattice.
Papa Bear didn't get around to going to the mailbox until late afternoon and guess what he brought home?....My new best friend.
After helping with the evening chores and washing the paint off of me, I gave it a test run. It was too late for me to start another canning project so I filled up the canner with water only and tried out my new best friend. It works! I am actually looking forward to my canning adventures Sunday.
Sunday I finished everything, although it took me all day. I pulled the last canner load out around 10:00 PM. ...but I didn't have to stand guard at the stove. I was actually able to load the dishwasher, do laundry and piddle around some in the yard while everything cooked. I even made and baked two loaves of bread so the grandson could have his peanut butter and jelly sandwich after school snack.
This recipe made 142 patties! I canned 28 quart jars and the breakdown in cost is about $2.25 a jar. But the thing that puts a smile on my face is we have 28 (27) more meals- in- a -jar added to our preps!