La What Now?

Since the 1960s, baseball teams and players have been publishing cookbooks. I collect them and try out some of the recipes that major leaguers have shared with their fans over the years. Photos, recipes and comments included.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Brunswick Stew by Catfish Hunter - from "'Catfish' Hunter's Southern Cookbook" (1987)


1 4 lb. beef roast, cooked and diced in small pieces
1 4 lb. hen, cooked, deboned and diced in small pieces
3 cans tomatoes, finely chopped
1 can tomato sauce
2 large onions, chopped
2 small green peppers, chopped
3/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup water
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. hot sauce
1 quart white shoepeg corn

Mix first eight ingredients in large saucepan.  Combine water and flour and stir until mixture is desired thickness and then stir in remaining ingredients.  Cook about 45 minutes or until all ingredients are done.  May be frozen.

Brunswick Stew is a meat-and-veggies classic from the south.  Countless variations can be found online.  Multiple states have a claim on being its originator, and no two recipes -- out of thousands -- are alike.

Here are the basics usually found in most iterations: Brunswick Stew starts with a thick, tomatoey base.  Add a choice of vegetables like beans, corn, okra, etc.  At its most traditional, the meat would be squirrel, possom or rabbit.  However most modern recipes will use some combination of chicken, beef or and/or pork.

Jim "Catfish" Hunter was a good ol' boy from North Carolina.  He spent his career pitching for the A's (1965-74) and the Yankees (1975-79), racking up five World Series rings in a Hall of Fame career.

Catfish was also a foodie.  After baseball, he published several cookbooks, including one for diabetics.  The gem of the Catfish collection is the one featured here: Catfish Hunter's Southern Cookbook.  This is one of those totally unique volumes that makes the baseball cookbook collection worthwhile.  It's got heaps of down home southern recipes to cook up every critter you can imagine: Squirrel Stew, Deerburger Soup, Baked Coon with Sweet Potatoes, Rabbit Salad, and even Fried Doves in Gravy (this is what it tastes like, when doves fry?).

The Brunswick Stew recipe that he offered up is very straightforward, using chicken and beef.  I made one substitution to give it a Canadian twist.  One of my dad's hunting buddies brought him some moose meat, which eventually made it to me.  It was a huge hunk of lean roast, perfect for a stew.  In it went, along with some chicken breast.  I couldn't find authentic shoepeg corn, so I used "regular" corn.  The rest of the recipe is essentially "throw all this stuff into a huge pot," and the result was a thick, red stew packed with meat and veggies.

I reckon all y'all would like this one, y'all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wild Rice Soup by Scott Sanderson - from "Baseball Cooks: The California Angels Share Their Favorite Recipes" (1993)


In a dutch oven put: 
1 tbsp. butter

1 cup finely diced leeks
1 cup finely diced onions
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced red pepper
Cover and cook until translucent, approx. 7 minutes.

Reduce heat to low.  Add 2 tbsp. flour and cook about 3 minutes, stirring.

Gradually stir in 40 oz. chicken broth.  Add 4 oz. or 3/4 cup wild rice.  Add 1 tbsp. dry sherry.  Simmer, covered, 45-55 minutes.

Makes about 8 cups.

Stuff doesn't have to be complicated.  It's winter, it's cold, you want something quick and easy to warm the tummy.  Here it is.  It's ridiculously easy.  If you can chop some vegetables without drawing blood, you can be enjoying this soup in less than 90 minutes.

This is the second wild rice soup I've made this year.  The previous one was a decadent cream of wild rice soup with mushrooms.  The recipe above delivers a lighter soup with more vegetables and less booziness, but equally good.

Scott Sanderson was a right hander who pitched for seven different clubs, they being: Montreal Expos (1978-83), Chicago Cubs (1984-89), Oakland A's (1990), New York Yankees (1991-92), California Angels (1993), San Francisco Giants (1993), Chicago White Sox (1994) and the California Angels again in 1995-96.  Were it not for the baseball strike of '94, he might have won a World Series ring with the White Sox.

This variation of wild rice soup is very filling, without being laden down with any heavy ingredients.  I imagine if you make the full amount called for in Sanderson's recipe, the extras will freeze well.