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History Cookbook: Trench Stew

This recipe is in category Edwardians and WW1
About this recipe
Healthiness : (238 votes)
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Number of servings: 3 - 4
Serving suggestions: For authenticity, allow to cool and serve with a cup of stewed tea


This recipe is based on the recollections of a soldier from the 9th Bedfordshire Regiment, who served in the trenches during WW1. Getting fresh hot food from the field kitchen to the front lines was impossible when a battle was raging. Soldiers lucky enough to have a small stove, or even candles, would boil up any food including stale biscuits or add these to the canned food provided.
Ingredients
  • 1 turnip
  • 2 carrots
  • ½ tin corned beef
  • ¼ stock cube (improves flavour. The canned stews and soups would have had some flavourings. However we are not sure if this would have been available in the field kitchens in times of shortages)
  • one or two biscuits (optional)
  • 1 pint of water
Equipment
  • Sharp knife
  • Measuring jug
  • Pan
  • Chopping board
  • Masher
  • Wooden spoon
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Put the water on to boil
  2. Slice up the turnip and carrot
  3. Add to the boiling water
  4. Add the stock and stir then leave for 10 minutes
  5. Mash up corned beef and add to the mixture
  6. Add the biscuits and stir (optional)
Trench Stew - print view  Trench Stew - print view

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Comments
There are 22 comments for this recipe.
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Name: Julie 13th December 2016
Use a full tin of corned beef, a whole stock cube, leave out the biscuits and put in an onion. I still make this regularly in 2016 and always wondered where my family got a liking for it. It seems we've been eating it since WW1! We have it on pancakes and I have no idea why. Its delicious when made properly, cheap, nutritious and perfect food for students, as my children will tell you.
Name: Meeru 7th December 2016
As a WWI reenactor doing the Liverpool Regiment, during a training outing I made some for the entire section. Needless to say after a whole day of drilling, building camp, digging trenches, a nice hot and high in fat content meal was required and that's what my men got.
That being said constipation was then endured for the following day.

All in all 9/10 loved it !

(I also added in a few herbs for taste... sshhhhhh)
Name: Max 22nd November 2015
i tried it and it made me throw up. i looked like a bowl of sick. i feel really sorry for the soldierrs who eat that
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