L’Shanah Tovah v’G’mar Chatimah Tovah L’kulam!
It seems the new year has snuck up on us again, especially since our wee one was born just a month before. Even in this 100 Degree weather the spirit of Autumn is in the air, and so is my hankering for fatty spiced desserts and stick-to-your-ribs hearty dinners.
Anyone who knows I have a kosher food blog and follows my Pinterest page must often think “what the heck – there is no way that’s kosher!” Ha! Well, you’re right. I love to take traditionally non-kosher recipes and do my best to make a kosher version, so when I saw Pioneer Woman‘s pin for Spicy Stewed Beef with Creamy Cheesy Grits I had to figure this one out.
It actually wasn’t that hard. Substitute cream with coconut cream and cheese for vegan cheese. Everything else was fine. Speaking of vegan cheese, I found a really good one at Trader Joe’s. It’s often hard to find food with both vegan and kosher certifications, because the certs cost so much in the first place, and manufacturers just choose they one they feel will have the biggest impact for their brand. Trader Joe’s has a mozarella-style cheese with both certifications, which melted perfectly and added the right amount of saltiness to the grits.
Regarding the actual recipe from Pioneer woman: as my Mexican friend Maricarmen would say “es a little espicy,” which means grab the fire hose, you’re about to burn your mouth off. Also, the recipe makes enough to feed an entire army. Don’t get me wrong, Pioneer Woman is great, but considering the fact that her husband is a smoker living at a higher altitude than me combined with her need to feed her family as well as several ranch hands, some modifications need to be made.
These are my suggestions, which will be reflected in the recipe. First, I halved the recipe for you. I find it’s much easier to double a recipe than to half it, so you’re welcome. Second, I halved the amount of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. There are actually a few ways you can do this. You can straight up use half the amount, you can just use the adobo sauce or you can take out the chilies and remove the seeds. I would suggest just using half the amount. Third, add sugar. You know how there are so many things called “honey chipotle”? There’s a reason for that – it tastes good! Also, the sugar takes the edge off the spice. I’m going to recommend using brown sugar or honey (your choice), but I believe that brown sugar is going to give the beef a more burnt ends BBQ quality. Finally, I switched out the dairy for parve substitutes: butter for margarine or Earth Balance, heavy cream for coconut cream and cheddar cheese for vegan cheese. If this is not a concern for you, use the dairy – I’m sure it tastes great.
Ok, finally, where do you find the stuff? I think the easiest kosher meat to find in general is chicken, beef stew and ground turkey. Typically, Trader Joe’s carries all these meats, at least in my neighborhood. However, the Trader Joe’s in my area does not carry chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, cans of green chilies or grits. You can find the chipotle chilies and the green chilies in the ethnic aisle at your mainstream grocery store (think Safeway, Kroger, Ralph’s, Harris Teeter, Jewel, etc., etc.) and I found grits – often called polenta – in the baking aisle next to the specialty grains from Red Mill.
Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman. Want to pin this recipe? Use this pic!
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/2 tablespoon margarine in a large pot over high heat.
- Add stew meat and brown for 1 minute, then add chipotle peppers, 2 cups broth, brown sugar (or honey), garlic, cumin, and chili powder. Stir, then bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is fall-apart tender and the liquid is thick.
- Taste the sauce halfway through cooking to determine if you need to add more sugar.
- Watch the meat occasionally and add more vegetable broth as needed.
- Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon of both oil and margarine.
- Add diced onion, bell pepper, and chilies and cook for five minutes.
- Pour in grits, then add 3 cups vegetable broth and water. Stir, then bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 30 minutes, add coconut cream.
- Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until grits are tender.
- Remove from heat and stir in shredded vegan cheese.
- Serve pile of grits with stewed meat and liquid over the top.
- Pair with asparagus or another green vegetable for your health.