Rustic "Mountain Stew": A Tribute to Appalachian Roots
As I prepare my special creation, affectionately named "Mountain Stew," I'm transported to a time when my Appalachian ancestors skillfully made the most of their humble resources. This dish resonates with their resourcefulness and resilience, and although the ingredients might differ from the past, the spirit remains the same. Feel free to customize this recipe to your taste, and remember, no stew is complete without a side of comforting cornbread.
Mountain Stew Recipe:
- Pinto beans
- White beans
- Red beans
- Black beans
- Collards (kale or spinach)
- 1 lb Uncured bacon (cut into pieces)
- Sliced sausage links (Uncured smokies, hotdogs cut up)
- Garlic (to taste)
- Onion (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- Tajin (1 tablespoon)
- Cocoa (1 tablespoon)
- Half cup barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's)
- Honoring Traditions:
- With each preparation of my "Mountain Stew," I pay homage to my Appalachian heritage, where making the most from simple ingredients was a way of life.
- Diverse Beans and Greens:
- Begin by incorporating a variety of beans, including pinto, white, red, and black beans. To enhance the stew's heartiness, add collards, kale, or spinach.
- Savory Meats:
- For added depth of flavor, include 1 lb of uncured bacon, cut into pieces. Introduce sliced sausage links, such as Uncured smokies or hotdogs, to amplify the stew's taste and texture.
- Balancing Flavors:
- Tailor the stew to your preferences with garlic and onion, adjusting the amounts to taste. Enhance the flavor profile with a touch of salt, pepper, Tajin, and even a tablespoon of cocoa.
- Unconventional Twists:
- To infuse a unique aspect into the stew, add half a cup of barbecue sauce. Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce provides a delightful contrast and depth to the dish.
- Simmering to Perfection:
- Allow the stew to simmer, allowing the flavors to meld into a harmonious symphony of taste. Stir occasionally to ensure the ingredients mingle beautifully.
- Serve and Savor:
- As your "Mountain Stew" simmers to perfection, prepare a batch of your favorite cornbread. The stew and cornbread are a match made in comfort food heaven.
Customization and Comfort:
Feel free to adapt this recipe to your own preferences and what's available in your kitchen. Just like the Appalachian ancestors, you can create a flavorful masterpiece from what's at hand. Remember, this stew isn't just a meal; it's a tribute to a way of life that valued every ingredient and cherished every flavor.
With each aromatic spoonful of "Mountain Stew," I am reminded of the generations before me who turned meager ingredients into nourishing and flavorful dishes. This stew is a testament to the resourcefulness and creativity that defined Appalachian cooking. As you embark on this culinary journey, allow your taste buds to travel through time, connecting you with those who found comfort and satisfaction in the simplest of ingredients. Enjoy your steaming bowl of "Mountain Stew" with a side of cornbread, just like my ancestors might have done on their Appalachian homesteads.