Brunswick Stew — Quick and Smokey-Bones Style

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The first cool, cloudy day of autumn stirs an irresistible urge for Brunswick Stew–not just any Brunswick Stew, but Smokey Bones’ Brunswick Stew.

The economic crash of the last decade (has it been that long?) took down our local Smokey Bones, though, so I’ve had to do my best to create an easy imitation. Perusing the web for same gave me some good ideas, but eventually I settled on my own, unique creation.

This (my impromptu recipe) is a quicker and easier version than those I found online, but pleases my picky palette perfectly! I’ve incorporated some ready-made items with brand names I found in my local Publix. I’d venture to guess it would be pretty tasty with your local brands too.

Impromptu Cuisine’s Brunswick Stew

Ingredients:

1/2 Publix Mojo Rotisserie Chicken

1 package microwave pulled pork (Jack Daniels flavor)

3/4 lb ground beef

2 large Vidalia Onions, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 box Progresso Chicken Broth (4 cups)

1/4 cup Magic BBQ Seasoning

1 Tablespoon Chorro’s Hot Sauce (less if you’re wussy)

1/2 cup Heinz Ketchup

1 Tablespoon French’s Yellow Mustard

3-4 Tablespoons Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce

1-2 teaspoons Iodized Sea Salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 — 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 — 28 oz can diced tomatoes

2 — 14.5 oz cans or one cylindrical package frozen sweet creamed corn

1-2 Tablespoons Raw Organic Sugar (maybe more if your corn isn’t sweet)

"A very pleasant bouquet."

Get ready for “A very pleasant bouquet.”

Method:

I begin by browning the ground beef and sautéing onions while  pulling the chicken from the bones. I unashamedly admit to opening a beer and helping myself to a few tastes (tastes, that’s all!) of that amazing Mojo chicken skin and the end of the wing during this process. You can’t really put that in a stew; someone’s  got to eat it, right? Like the good Cherokee in my great-great grandmother, we honor the good spirit in all things by doing our best not to waste it! Too much, though, and it goes to my ‘waist’ instead.

Then I start opening cans. I feel a bit like a 60’s mom during this part, but it’s for a good cause, I tell myself. We’ll get to the point where everything is fresh and organic–maybe even home-grown–someday. Like after retirement.

By now the ground beef and onions should be ready to drain. Yes, get that grease outta there. There’s enough fat in the pre-packaged pulled pork to keep your body well-insulated for winter.

Now this is where the fun begins! Turn up the music and dance a bit while you just plunk every ingredient into a nice large stew-pot, stir it up and bring it to where it just starts to try to jump out of the pot. Then cover, reduce heat to simmer, and get on with whatever else you want to do with your evening! You have anywhere from an hour to two, depending on your schedule. Just stop by and stir every 15 or 20 minutes so it doesn’t get a dark, stinky crust on the bottom. This will ruin it all! Save the stew! Stir it up!

(Note to the attention-impaired: Start this stew in the morning in a crock pot. This helps save your stew!)

About a half an hour before dinner time, taste it and adjust seasonings if you feel you must. Then get started on the modified corn bread recipe I’ll be posting soon. Don’t forget your quick, fresh, organic salad prep on the side; you don’t want to skip your greens!

Yum.

Yum.

Recommended pairings: What else? Your favorite beer or near-beer.
Ginger ale for the totally abstinent.

Let me know what you thought of this one. My family LOVES it!

Warm and toasty,
Your impromptucuisine host,
Joan

P.S. For some mental, emotional and social nourishment, stop by my other blog at joantwarren.com

 

Super Kale Salad – You’ve Gotta Try it to Know if You Like it

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“One of these days, I’m going to teach you how to cook,” I offered, as playtime wound down and I begged off to go start dinner.

“Okay, Mimi, what can I do?” my four-year-old granddaughter quickly returned.

As she helped wash the kale, she surprised me as she spontaneously put a piece in her mouth to taste it. It didn’t make it past her palette, but I was impressed that she tried it. She’s a picky eater. Usually it takes rewards (AKA bribes), withholding her favored foods (AKA threats), and other such crazy antics to get her to try something new.

“Don’t put it back in the bowl if you don’t like it, put it in that side of the sink.” She promptly took me up on the suggestion and spit it into the sink. Following her lead, I tried a piece, too, straight from the colander.

(Ever done that?)

Together, we agreed kale tastes pretty nasty by itself.

“Well, it will taste much better once we get the dressing on it,” I reassured her, knowing full well she didn’t believe me.

She watched as I chopped it finely, asking “What else can I do, Mimi?”

“You can help me squeeze the lemons to make the dressing!”

She remembered squeezing lemons for lemonade last summer. What a memory, I marveled. I wondered if neural pruning would snip that memory as she passes through this critical phase of brain development.

“Be careful, now, hold it down so it doesn’t squirt in your eye.”

All proceeded nicely with this process until she dropped the lemon into the juice, and, wouldn’t you know it?  A drop of lemon juice splashed right in her eye. 

Several blood-curdling screams later, as we washed her eye and gave her a towel, she ran upstairs to change, apparently more mortified that her pirate outfit got wet than that her eye suffered a shockIng sting.

Assured she was fine, I peeled and diced the garlic, crushed it with salt using the end of tongs (the pestle is missing from our mortar and pestle), added the oil and lemon juice and tossed it into the diced kale.

Adjusting for taste with a few dashes of bread dip seasoning made for a simple but powerful transformation. I could have added more to this simple salad, but for tonight, it was enough.

Hubby reminded me at dinner that he likes my kale salad better than any we’ve had in restaurants. Hmmm, I guess I should post it on my recipe blog, then, thought I. It was a bit too late for a lovely photo, as we had almost devoured it by then. Here’s what was left:image

Unfortunately, as anticipated, granddaughter wouldn’t try it again, so she didn’t get to experience the transformation from Yucky Kale to Super Kale salad. Instead we heard the usual, “I don’t like that!,” and it was a little more difficult for me to try persuading her with the old “You don’t know if you like it unless you try it” response.

Kale really is a super food; you just have to find ways to bring out it’s best side so it gets past your inner picky eater. Here’s the recipe, in case you need it spelled out. Experiment with additives, changes, to suit your taste:

a bunch of dark green leafy kale (remove spines, dice, enough to fill a large salad bowl, there’s some shrinkage when dressing absorbs)

2 lemons (juice of)

4 cloves garlic

1 -2 tsp salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

bread dip seasoning

Directions:

crush garlic with salt

add oil and lemon, stirring into the crushed garlic and salt blend

pour over kale, toss

season to taste with bread dip seasoning (a few shakes)

toss again and set aside

flavors improve as salad rests in dressing while dinner cooks

toss again just before serving

Enjoy!

If you would like to read more on the amazing qualities of kale, here you go:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/06/kale-benefits.aspx

For a different sort of fare, see:

joantwarren.com