Vegetarian Burgoo

Traditional Burgoo is thought to have originated in Kentucky, and traditionally contains a combination of meats (usually small game such as rabbit or squirrel) with savory vegetables and potatoes. A very thick and hearty stew, Burgoo is a great way to end a frigid day out in the ice and can be created out of practically anything and therefore out of practically nothing. For example, if you live in Central North Carolina like me and like me failed to properly stock your pantry for the ice storm for which you were given ample warning, you can make Burgoo!

There isn’t really a standard recipe for Burgoo; it calls for only three things: meat, savory veggies, and a thickening agent. (I think Alton Brown, Food Network taught me that?) This sort of freedom beckons to my inner chef, I can basically create whatever I want and not have to worry about coming up with a name for it.

For this reckless take on Burgoo, I deconstructed the idea of what the traditional dish is. Potatoes are in most preparations, and I didn’t want to leave them out but I didn’t want boiled soggy potatoes in the stew proper, I wanted roasted and crisp potatoes as a base for a very thick preparation of pasta and beans, without meat. All told, like most of my creations this doesn’t look or taste a thing like what it’s called. However, it does have this in common with what a true Kentuckian would expect: it’s delicious, and the spoon does stand up in it!

Assemble the Following:

  • 1 CL Garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Leek Heart (Just the tender light green and white parts) about 1 C, julienned. Reserve the rest of the leek as well, minced.
  • 1 Celery Stick, julienned
  • 2 Marinated Artichoke Hearts (Liquid Reserved), minced
  • 1 Qt Mushroom Fumet (Stock)
  • 16 Oz Each of Garbanzo and Kidney beans
  • 1 1/4 C Orzo
  • 3 Large Red Potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Recaito
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp each of Dried Cilantro, Thyme and Sage
  • Crushed Red Pepper to Taste

Do This With it:
Red potatoes take forever to do anything especially roast, so get those out of the way and in the oven they will be in there for at least an hour, plenty of time to put together the rest of the stew.

  • Uniformly dice the potatoes into one inch cubes, soak in cool water seasoned with salt and pepper for at least fifteen minutes. Reserve this water.
  • Sautee julienned savory leek hearts and celery until tender in 2 Tbsp Olive Oil and Recaito until tender. Deglaze with Artichoke Marinade Liquid.
  • Drain oil from savory veggies and reserve. Discard Veggies.
  • Toss Potatoes in reserved oil until evenly coated and arrange in single layer on VERY well greased baking pan.
  • Bake in oven preheated to 400° oven until crisp on the outside.
  • Divide mushroom stock into thirds, and soak cooked beans in 1/3.
  • In a stock pot sauté the artichoke hearts, garlic and minced leeks.
  • Add a cup or two of the potato water, and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat and add dried Cilantro, Thyme, Sage.
  • Combine beans and stock into the stock pot.
  • Add Orzo and simmer until cooked and tender.
  • Will render a very thick stew. Use remaining stock to thin the stew if you like.


  • In a shallow bowl, create a nest of potatoes.
  • Top with stew and drizzle with a little broth.
  • Sprinkle with Feta or some other soft cheese.
  • Garnish with leek greens and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

  • You end up with a lot of this stuff (like in the neighborhood of 32 cups after a couple servings)

  • I also had 2/3 of a qt of Stock thawed… I divided the Burgoo and combined it with the rest of the stock.
    • TADA! A quart of soup!


Posted on February 1, 2010, in Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Mike: What is Recaito?

  2. I recognized my plate!

  3. Recaito is a coking base that hails from the Caribbean (Puerto Rico and Cuba mostly, I think. Don’t quote me…) made by sauteing cilantro, onions, green pepper, and garlic in olive oil. Usually mild in flavor and spice, I use Jalapeno pepper so it has one hell of a kick!
    It’s definitely *not* for you Grandma!! Thanks for reading my blog!! Love you!!

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