Hoover Stew

Cowboy Kent Rollins' Hoover Stew for great depression cooking - macaronie, kielbasa, and stewed tomatoes

Hoover stew came about during the Great Depression in the early 1930’s. Folks had to pinch a penny so hard they’d make Lincoln cry, as they used to say. This stew is a tasty way to stretch a dollar to feed more people or to make a meal with enough leftovers to take care of the next day’s meals.

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Great Depression Cooking

Soup kitchens became essential in the bigger cities during the depression, with people standing in line all day for a bowl of broth that might have some stewed tomatoes or beans in it. If it contained any kind of meat, it was considered a high-end meal and a treat.

In rural areas, a lot of folks were already used to sustaining or supplementing their own food stores off the land, so the depression didn’t have as devastating an impact. In those areas the broth would be made from any type of wild game, vegetables from the garden, or food gathered from wild plants and trees.


Today’s Hoover Stew – $1.38 per serving

This recipe is simple and you can add anything to it that you might have in the vegetable drawer of the ice box, as well.

Start by boiling the pasta until it’s just al dente. In a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, sautee the onion and kielbasa with a little butter or oil. Add the macaroni, 2 cans of stewed tomatoes and 2 cans of pinto beans.

Tip: Don’t drain the tomatoes or the beans – the liquid contributes significant flavor to the broth.


Again, you could add any herbs/spices/canned goods that you think would be tasty and that will make this stew go further. Most vegetables cook down surprisingly well and add a lot of flavor to the broth, even if it’s the heel of celery or a half of a garlic clove.

Simmer the stew until the noodles are tender and the flavors incorporate all together. Serve immediately.

Kent Rollins Hoover Stew

More Recipes from Kent Rollins Meant to Stretch Your Dollar


Hoover Stew - Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 to 8 servings


  • 12 ounces large elbow macaroni
  • 14 ounces kielbasa sausage cut into slices
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 2, 14.5 ounce cans stewed tomatoes undrained
  • 2, 15.5 ounce cans pinto beans undrained


  • Cook the macaroni as directed on the package, until al dente. Drain and stir in a little oil or butter, to prevent the noodles from sticking. Set aside.
  • Add the sausage to a Dutch oven or stew pot, over medium heat. Cook for about 3 minutes, then stir in the onion. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender and the sausage has browned.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, beans and macaroni. Continue to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
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