I have been working on this stew for a while, trying various different spice and veg variations. After a lot of messing about, I have come to the conclusion that the best recipe for this ‘Southern style sausage stew’ is to keep it as simple as possible.
Being a white boy from the South of England and then moving to Australia, I had to be careful of not stepping on any toes when naming it. One of my pet hates is when I see cooks come along and give their “take” on a food, but change it so much that it does not resemble the original in any way, hence why I am not calling this a ‘gumbo’. I do not want to disrespect the origins and hardships of where the original dish came from. I will proudly state however, that the influence is 100% from the Louisiana classic. My girlfriend and I were lucky enough to travel the South back in 2006 (both being meat eaters at the time) and I am happy to say that of all the places I have been, the people were the friendliest I have ever met and the food served to me, was the best I have ever eaten. Even better than the street food in Mexico. Oooooh actually that is a big call… Anyway, amazing food that inspired this sausage stew.
The original is all about slow cooking and getting smokiness for the sausage. Very difficult to do that with vegan ingredients, hence why I am using a vegan sausage (a Tofutti sausage with spinach and pesto but any will do) that really needs to be helped. Enter smoked paprika. The veg are the traditional peppers, onion, garlic and celery. Finally, the sauce is from vegetable stock and tomatoes.
To serve, I either use rice, crusty bread or a good mashed potato. I find a mash mixed with wholegrain mustard to be the perfect partner here.
Have a go and let me know what you think.
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 sausages, cut into bite size pieces (I used spinach and Pesto Tofutti ones as that is all I had, but any will do)
- 1 brown onion, diced,
- 1 green pepper (capsicum), diced
- 2 garlic clothes, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 tin diced tomatoes
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Start off by making your roux. Heat a heavy based pan or casserole dish over a low – medium heat. Add the butter and stir in the flour. Continue stirring and heating until the roux is a nice browny colour. This should take a few minutes, about 5 will do but 10 is better. Be careful not to burn it here. You HAVE to keep stirring and keep the heat low
- Add your onion, garlic, pepper and celery, plus olive oil if your pan needs it. Fry for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently
- Add your sausage, paprika and thyme and fry for 4 – 5 minutes
- Add the stock and tinned tomatoes. Give everything a big stir, turn up the heat and then once starting to boil, turn down the heat and simmer, stirring frequently. This will take about 20 – 30 minutes
- Season with salt and pepper and serve with rice or mashed potato
B.B. King “Live At The Regal”
(Please note: this was written back when I was album matching, I just name what I was listening to these days)
This type of dish could have SO many different records matched. From Dr john to Chuck Berry to Aretha Franklin. The best food is always right near the best music. Coincidence? I think not.
I have chosen my favourite Blues guitarist of all time though, Mr BB King. This article was written a few weeks after the great one had passed. BB Kings story is legendary, as the story about ‘Lucille’ his guitar. BB was in a bar where a fight broke out. A fire was started and the place burned to the ground. BB rushed back into the building and salvaged his beloved Gibson guitar. The two guys that were fighting both died in the fire and the next day, BB found out they were fighting over a girl named “Lucille”. That guitar (and every guitar he owned after) was forever known as “Lucille”.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given his size, BB was a LOVER of soul food. He even owned a chain of blues clubs selling exclusively soul food on the menu. What might not be as common knowledge is, because of type 2 diabetes developed through obesity, BB switched to a vegetarian diet for the last part of his life. This is credited for him living so much longer than expected. Therefore, I fully believe BB would have given a nod to this dish. If it is (perhaps!!) good enough for BB King, it is good enough for us all!
B.B. King “Live at The Regal” – a true blues master
Listen – but do yourself a favour and buy it on vinyl!!
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