Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Brunswick Stew

When I was a kid, my dad used to take me to this place called "Bones and Buddies II". (I have no idea if there was a B&B I or where it was....) It was a weird little hole in the wall that served lots of greasy southern food at tables with paper napkins in a red plastic basket and hot sauce at every table. The only reasons to go there in my childhood opinion were square dogs, root beer and Brunswick stew.

Square Dogs are easy enough to veganize and require no special instructions, they were hot dogs that were sliced up and served on toast with lettuce and mayo. Slice up a veggie dog, toast bread, spread a little vegan mayo and you are good to go. By the way, kids love square dogs and it saves you from the too few hot dogs vs. too many buns issue. Also it is way easier to locate vegan wheat bread than vegan wheat hot dog buns!

Brunswick stew however... that's a much different story. The original version was a vegetable stew that was heavy on young green Lima beans (I really have a thing for Lima beans...) and other good southern veggies with chicken and smokey ham. I have always loved vegetables and this dish was full of them. So many of my childhood food memories are wrapped up in this odd stew. It was not elegant, was not pretty and even contained okra (oh the horrors!!) and yet I loved it! So here is my new veganized version, renamed : New Brunswick Stew. My husband, who does not care for Lima beans, even conceded that it was good. It evokes the correct flavors without harming either Mr. Chicken or Miss Piggy. That gives me even more reason to love it.

New Brunswick Stew
(with low fat option)


2 TBS earth balance, or other vegan margarine (leave out for low fat version)
1 medium onion
1/2 large red pepper
1 stalk celery
2 medium carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth or bouillon
2 cups water
1 lb young green lima beans
1 large potato
1 vegan not chicken bouillon cube
1 cup okra
1 cup corn, cut from cob
1 cup tomato, chopped
2 TBS hot sauce (or to taste)
1 TBS liquid smoke


  • Chop all vegetables and set aside
  • In a large, heavy bottomed pot heat the earth balance or (for low fat version) a small amount of vegetable broth and saute the onion, red pepper celery, and carrot.
  • As soon as the onion begins to soften, season heavily with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (yes, like the song....). Add garlic and stir carefully so it doesn't burn.
  • Once garlic is lightly colored add vegetable broth and water. Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Add Lima beans, potato and bouillon cube. Return to a boil.
  • Boil rapidly for about 15 minutes. Check to be sure that the bouillon cube is dissolved and then turn down to a low simmer.
  • Add okra, corn, tomatoes, hot sauce and liquid smoke. Simmer on low until the vegetables are done to your liking. (I did about another 30 minutes on the lowest possible flame)
  • Check seasonings and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Note: To have the best stew, use the freshest vegetables possible!! I personally do not like to boil them to mush but others may feel differently.

So the next time you have some Lima beans: fix this stew, sit out the hot sauce, pour yourself some sweet tea or root beer and see if you don't fall in love too!! (Try to skip the paper napkins though... they aren't so good for the environment)

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