1. Melt shortening in large saucepan.
2. Add meat, and brown on all sides.
3. Add hot water and 1/2 t salt, and bring quickly to boiling point.
4. Cover, and simmer for 2 hours, or until meat is very tender.
5. Add vegetables 30 minutes before meat is done, and cook until tender but not broken.
6. Season with remaining salt and pepper.
7. Pour off liquid, measure, and add hot water, if necessary, to make 2 cups of liquid.
8. Mix flour and 1/2 cup water by shaking in a small covered jar, and add to liquid.
9. Return liquid to stew, and stir until it has boiled for 1 minute and is thickened.
10. Serve on hot platter or in vegetable dish.
Note: If you made dumplings, add 20 minutes before removing stew from heat. Make sure dumplings rest on pieces of meat or vegetables so they will cook in the steam.
Dumplings for Stew
1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt (or your favorite seasonings).
2. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or two knives until mixture looks like coarse corn meal.
3. Add milk, and stir lightly until flour mixture is just moistened.
4. Drop dough carefully from spoon into boiling liquid.
5. Cover, and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
Enjoy family units! A home cooked meal on a cold winter's day.