Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Vegan Brunswick Stew Topped with Spelt Cream Cheese And Chive Biscuits (No Hunting Required!)


Serve each person a scoop with a biscuit--simply delicious!

. . . And serve some biscuits up on the side!

See how this gets a nice carmelized layer on top--mmmmm!

I read a story in the paper this weekend about a man in his eighties who went raccoon hunting in the woods on his mule and got lost. Helicopters and scores of volunteers went searching for him in his small community. Lucky for him, he happened upon a couple of other hunters, he was hungry and bit tired but no worse for the wear. These kind men fed him and one of the men (an off-duty officer) phoned in for some help getting him warmed up only to learn the man had been missing--thank god they found him and praises were thrown out. The old man was happy as he had had a pretty successful hunting experience, except the getting lost part--mule and man were taken home--all's well that ends well. Well, except for the raccoon, too.

One of the things I love about living in Missouri is it's natural beauty. I live in a hilly, almost Ozark-like county with rolling hills and, so far, plenty of "undeveloped" land. Still close enough to a Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods that I don't need to pack a lunch to get there--but far enough away from the fray to keep sane and enjoy my backyard and my solitary runs. I subscribe to a free peridical called "Missouri Conservationist." The latest issue arrived yesterday--I read it immediately. I love the photographs, the information about wildlife and tips on best places to hike. What does this have to do with Brunswick stew? Well, if you are even faintly familiar with hunting season, and believe me, I am--you will know that this dish makes its appearance regularly in the south--and about this time of year. I remember when I first moved to the south--(and anything south from St. Louis--that is like the Mason-Dixon line, if you will). I was immersed in a completely new culture of both people and food--having been raised just outside of Chicago. Not only did the dialect change--my understanding of the role of food did, too. Take for instance my "crawdad" hunting expidition I took part in on a muddy bank along a "crick". Or, my first introduction to hamhocks and grits, and mustard greens. (The only mustard I knew of prior to that was the kind in the yellow plastic bottle.)
And hunting season, well, you best not plan on any big tests that week, or any big family get-togethers--the boys are out, save a place at the table for their return. I remember one time during school and it was the first day of hunting season--nearly every boy in school was "out". I also noticed a week or so prior, many of those same boys had lost their razors. The Missouri Conservationist provides a very comprehensive calendar and stories accompanying each hunting season--but it also provides much more.

Okay, if you are a sensitive vegan reader, skip the next line. Traditionally, Brunswick Stew (southern in its very nature) is made with a "critter" and tons of veggies with a gob of barbeque sauce thrown in for good measure. I've said several times in this blog that I am not about a "low-fat" kind of vegan eating--tofu, salad, beans, rice--plus, I am not a big "salad" girl--not year round anyway. I don't really believe in diets either. I believe in moving your butt off a sofa--calories in, calories out. And eating is such a huge part of my life, I don't feel I should short change on any tasty meals just because I am a vegan. I think part of the reason some are so "vegan averse" is not only the moral issues they may take umbrage with--but with the idea that as a vegan we are somehow denying ourselves of the best of what the world of food has to offer. Not true. Well, not true if you live in this house. One of the main reasons I began this blog was to inspire folks to "step away from the meat"--and try eating a satisfying, cruelty-free meal.

So, yesterday I had a yen for Brunswick Stew sans critters. This is a delightful, tasty, warm dish that is usually served with lots of fresh corn bread or rolls to sop up the juice. But I had a better idea and that was to top off the dish with biscuits. Enter my library check out: King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook. I found the perfect biscuit for this--Spelt (Soy) Cream Cheese (and I added the chive part because the chives in my garden are still green and ready for trimming)--yum! This dish requires a lot of veggies so make sure your pantry is stocked--oh, and you'll need some black-eyed-peas (not the group--well, you could play them in the background). Also, for my protein, I added seitan and mushrooms to the dish. I found a recipe for a vegetarian Brunswick Stew in one of my favorite cookbooks: Sundays at Moosewood. I gave it my own spin and it really, really worked well. This is a very satisfying dish and in all honesty--it came together in less than an hour. I used my mom's old dutch oven that has been collecting dust in my cabinet. It is a must in making this as you will be baking the stew for part of the time and truly, using this kind of dish makes a huge difference in your flavor and texture. This is a "stick to your bones" kind of meal!

Vegan Brunswick Stew

3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons cooking sherry vinegar
2 medium onions chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 large carrot chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 package seitan (drained and sliced thin)
2 medium russet potatoes cubed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can yellow corn (you don't need to drain this, but you can if you want)
1 can black-eyed peas (drained)
4 cups veggie stock
3 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos or Tamari Sauce
1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
3 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce
Spike seasoning or S & P to taste
dash of dried Italian herbs

First, cook the seitan in a bit of oil in a medium saute pan on medium heat--browning it a bit--adding seasoning to it as well--a little Spike sprinkled on it for flavor. Set it aside when it has browned. In a large dutch oven on medium heat, saute the onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes and garlic for about five minutes in the oil. Add the cooking sherry vinegar and stir. Now, kick the heat up to high to reduce the sherry a bit--which will take about two minutes--reduce the heat to medium. Add your dried herbs and S & P now. Next, add the canned stuff--be sure to drain the peas. Next, add your the remaining ingredients and cook over a medium low heat--being careful not to burn the stew. It needs to simmer a good while. You can cover this and keep on low heat to speed up the cooking of the potatoes. Just be sure to stir it every now and then. Turn off the heat after about 30 minutes. Now make the biscuits.

Spelt Cream Cheese And Chive Biscuits

2 cups spelt flour (the white spelt if you have it)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1/2 stick Earth Balance Vegan Butter
1/2 container of Tofutti Cream Cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup soy milk

First, prep your Egg Replacer and set aside. Preheat oven to 400. Line one cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, add the dry ingredients. Add the butter in pieces to the processor and pulse enough times to get a crumbly mixture. Next, add the chives. Then add the cream cheese, same thing--pulse some more. Next, in another bowl, whisk milk and Egg Replacer together. Add this to the processor and pulse some more. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. You are just going to turn this dough over and fold it like two more times--it should not be kneaded so much as shaped and flattened with your hands. Flatten the dough to about 3/4" thick. Then, take a 2" biscuit cutter and cut out about eight biscuits. Just toss the dough away that is left over. Place 5 or six biscuits over the Brunswick Stew. Place the remaining bisbuits on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Place the dutch oven (uncovered) with biscuits on top and the cookie sheet in the oven and bake both for 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about ten minutes and serve up! Yum!

2 comments:

  1. Your stew recipe sounds great. I love to take omni recipes and make them vegan as well.

    I notice you said you grew up outside Chicago. I did as well. And had the same mustard experience with blue crabs where I live now.

    Can't wait to see what you make next,
    Alicia

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi! Thanks so much--that is such a coincidence growing up in the same area! I love your blog by the way--thanks for checking in and I look forward to seeing your good vegan posts as well!

    ReplyDelete

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