Cooking Real Life Rations from Metal Gear Solid

Ever wanted to crack one of Solid Snake's tinned Metal Gear Solid rations open for a quick taste? Well now you can!
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A few weeks ago I received my first Gourmet Gaming request for the Rations from Metal Gear Solid. I’ll admit I’ve never played an awful lot of Metal Gear, so this request gave me the perfect excuse to play it. I found a copy of the Playstation original on one of my many shelves; the manual describes the Rations as “Meals-ready-to-eat.”, and notably that they are ‘military rations’. So I started by researching the actual provisions from the first and second World Wars and picked the idea of a Meat and Vegetable Stew; full of the right stuff that would “sustain Snake to help him fight”. I added the dumplings because really, who doesn’t love a good dumpling? This recipe makes enough for about two people, just double the quantities if you’d like to make it for more.
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This recipe serves 2-4.
What you will need: A large pot, a mixing bowl, a sieve and a tin can to serve.

For the Stew:
1 Large White Onion
1 Clove Garlic
100g / 1 Cup Celery
150g / 1 Cup Chantenay Carrots
300g / 2½ Cups Braising Steak
500ml / 2¼ Cup Beef Stock
1 Bay Leaf
Olive Oil
For the Dumplings:
50g / ⅓ Cup Self Raising Flour
¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
25g / ¼ Cup Shredded Suet (Beef or Vegetable)
¼ Teaspoon Salt
Handful of Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
5-8 Tablespoons Cold Water


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Preparing the Dumplings:

  1. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in the suet, chopped parsley and salt.
  3. Slowly add the cold water a tablespoon at a time until the dough is soft and sticky.
  4. With floured hands roll the dough into about 8 dumplings.

Making the Stew:

  1. To prepare; chop the onion, carrots, celery and garlic.
  2. Chop the braising steak into bite size chunks.
  3. Put a few tablespoons of flour on a plate and season well with salt and pepper. Coat the beef pieces in the mixture then dust off any excess.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in the pot and seal the meat, frying in small batches for about a minute each side.
  5. When done remove from the pot and set aside.
  6. Add a little more oil if needed; add the chopped onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the pot and cook until lightly golden.
  7. Return the beef to the pot, add the thyme and bay leaf and stir.
  8. Pour in the beef stock, season with salt and pepper to taste and bring to the boil.
  9. Once boiling, reduce to a low heat, cover and simmer for about an hour and a half.
  10. After an hour and a half add the dumplings, making sure they are covered with liquid. Cover the pot again and cook for another half hour.
  11. Serve in a tin can and garnish with some thyme.


The good news is that the stew was delicious, the not so good news is that it was near impossible to make it look like what it was, but I think I got as close as I could without taking up metal craft (the request did state it had to be in a can). It had been raining all day so this stew was a welcome meal even in June. It was also surprisingly light and not stodgy at all. One of my fears was making something that would have been too complex to be considered a ‘ration’; some people suggested I add lentils or barely or eye of newt but I told them no! I wanted something simple and easy and that’s what I’ve achieved here. I’d never made a stew before so I’m rather proud of myself - I just wish I’d eaten it while hiding under a cardboard box to enhance the experience.

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