Skip to Content

Recipes from The Oklahoma Celebrity Cookbook: Candice Earley’s Stew

Last month, I attempted the full-out war of Chuck Norris’s White Enchiladas from the 1991 Oklahoma Celebrity Cookbook and, you know, it turned out pretty good. Ka-blam!

But for this month, I wanted to try a less flashy recipe in both name and ingredients. The book offered had a few well-meaning sportsmen, comedians, and school superintendents, but in the end, I found a soap opera actress who made a mean beef stew.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present actress Candice Earley:

I didn’t know much about Earley, but according to the cookbook, she had a long career on All My Children in the 1970s and 1980s, playing the role of the runaway teenage prostitute Donna. She also apparently guest-hosted a couple of episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show and emceed the Mr. Male America Pageant, something I'd like to compete in someday.

Sadly, Early passed away in 2019, but her “Sam’s Stew” recipe lives on in eternity in The Oklahoma Celebrity Cookbook.

From the offset, it's a barebones recipe – it calls for one pound of ground beef, two sliced onions, five sliced potatoes, and a whole bunch of canned vegetables, including Ranch Style Beans.

To start, I tossed the onion and ground beef in the pot on medium heat and let them do their thing. I then added the cubed potatoes to the mix — I used three instead of five — and as things began to bubble and spew, the semi-delicious aroma of a nice enough dinner took over.

After a few minutes of stirring, the real taste of the stew was enforced with the addition of nibblets-style corn, green chiles, stewed tomatoes and, of course, a big can of "husband-pleasing" Ranch Style Beans.

As they toiled and boiled in the stew, they created a fascinating brew that came to full fruition. Patiently, I let the stew simmer for about a half-hour.

While waiting, I read up on Earley’s career and read that besides All My Children, she was on stage in the plays Hair, Grease, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Also, she was named “Most Exciting New Actress” in the first annual Soapies. That was a real thing!

As Sam’s Stew was ready to be served, I gave myself a big bowl in her soapy honor.

Like any meat and potatoes dish, the stew was incredibly filling, with the beans, potatoes, and ground beef joining forces to provide a simple and satisfactory flavor. I devoured my first serving, and then had another.

Despite its simplicity, Sam's Stew was a solid meal and satisfying dish that will make anyone from Oklahoma City or Pine Valley proud. I'll have to make it again on some cold autumn day while binging All My Children in Eearly's honor.


Follow Louis Fowler on Instagram at @louisfowler78.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter