The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.
I opted to make a variation on the first recipe given. I usually don’t eat meat, so this dish posed quite a challenge for me. I think there were three or four different kinds of meat in the recipe… I replaced all of the meat with shrimps and seitan, the broth with a vegetable/shrimp broth. Since this likely changed the flavour quite a bit, I’ve jokingly labelled my variation of the recipe (New) Brunswick Stew. Any Canadians reading this will get the New Brunswick/seafood reference… right? (I’m sure there is nothing specifically New Brunswick about it. I just wanted a cute title).
I started by making a broth, which I based on one I got from a Seafood Gumbo recipe I plan to try eventually. I also had to make some seitan, a vegetarian meat substitute made with wheat gluten (sorry, GF folks!). Both of these things added to the cooking time, since I had to make them from scratch.
Next, I fried up some chile peppers. I got some fun dried chiles called Chilhuacle Negro that have a medium heat (5/10). I’m pretty new to chiles, so I didn’t want to get any that were too hot. That said, I should have kept some of the seeds in for a little more heat. This was where the excitement starts – the smell of the peppers and the oil in the pan are heavenly!
Here is what the stew looked like in the early stages – the seitan is still in large chunks (to be sliced into thin strips in a later stage). While the broth started off looking quite red (from the chile peppers and the smoked paprika), it mellowed into a nice warm golden colour by the end.
Here is the final product, and the shot that everyone on Daring Cooks seems to be doing – the standing spoon shot. This came from the original recipe. To describe the texture of the finished stew, they said that Brunswick stew is not done properly “until the paddle stands up in the middle.”. Everyone has been doing their version of this shot, so I felt obliged to do the same. It was a hearty hearty stew, but the broth was not too thick and gloopy.
In the end, the stew turned out great! It was a bit of a challenge deciding what to use instead of meat, but I think the seitan worked wonderfully! This is definitely something I wouldn’t have known to seek out, and there’s no doubt I’ll be making this again.
Recipe after the jump.