Vegetarian Brunswick Stew ("please-don't-make-this-again")

In my never-ending quest for “meat and potatoes” vegetarian meals, an amusingly titled book at the library grabbed my attention:  The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook by Robin Robertson. Lots of homey, hearty meat-free main dishes, “American” food as well as interesting ethnic recipes – spicy African sweet potato stew, Indian spiced sweet potato pot pie, Asian-stuffed kabocha squash. Even “steaks,” using mushrooms, eggplants, and seitan “wheat meat," something I’ve always wanted to try.
The only concern I had was the number of recipes that used “fake” meat such as vegetarian sausage links and soy crumbles. I’ve always poo-poo’d these. If you want to eat stuff like this, eat real meat. But I assumed these would make vegetarian meals more meat-friendly for Craig and Connor. I bought a box of Morningstar sausage links, the primary ingredient of which is TVP – textured vegetable protein. While the sodium level is high (300g ram / 13% of the recommended daily allowance), these "fakausages" are much lower in calories and fat than pork sausage (80 calories, 3 grams fat) with 2 grams fiber and 9 grams protein for two links.
Doesn't this look like real sausage?
Let’s give it a try, and I selected the Vegetarian Brunswick Stew. I’ve prepared this traditional Southern stew before and made a few changes to give it a more authentic taste, adding ketchup, okra, creamed corn, and vinegar, but I omitted the standard lima beans. To keep the sodium level in check, I tried to eliminate as much added salt as possible, using no salt tomatoes (actually, some we canned this summer), no salt creamed corn, and low sodium vegetarian broth. The traditional texture of Brunswick stew is said not to be done until the paddle stands up in the middle.” Using less broth than the original recipe specifies, it fits the bill as hardy and satisfying. As the author notes, the Liquid Smoke imparts a pleasant hickory-smoked nuance to the stew. I made whole wheat cheddar chive biscuits to serve with it.

Those with a discerning eye may notice two items in the photo not listed in the ingredient list below. In the frig I had the “bulb” of a roasted butternut squash that needed used (about 1 cup, diced) as well as a cup or so of cooked farro and added these with the broth, vegetables, and spices. The squash instilled a sweet contrast to the tang of the Worcestershire and vinegar.

BLOGGER’S NOTE: I composed this post before we ate dinner. I really liked it, albeit I may have overcooked the fakausages, which turned a little mushie. Craig said this is not a keeper.

Vegetarian Brunswick Stew
Serves 3 generously

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
6 vegetarian sausage links, cut into ½”- pieces
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups vegetarian broth
1/4 cup ketchup
1 large carrot, diced
8 ounces canned no-salt diced tomatoes
1 can no-salt added creamed corn
1 scant cup frozen green beans
1 scant cup frozen okra
1 heaping tablespoon Worcestershire sauce – vegetarian, made without anchovies, if you’re a true vegetarian
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Freshly ground black pepper
Few dashes of liquid smoke

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook until the onion is slightly translucent and celery begins to soften. Add the broth and next 12 ingredients (carrot through freshly ground pepper) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until vegetables are tender.

During the last 10 minutes, add the reserved sausage and liquid smoke.

1 comment:

  1. Im always on the lookout for yummy vegetarian recipes too...too bad this one got sounds yummy!

    stone soup cottage is this saturday!! im beyond excited! hopefully the weather & road conditions improve by then. will definitely let u know what we think :)



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