This year I’m making Mulligan Stew as a tribute to St. Patrick’s Day. The stew is a variation of Irish Stew and is full of hearty meat, potatoes and root vegetables. My recipe includes some unusual ingredients–sausage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts–which makes a delicious concoction. Mulligan Stew is also known as Hobo Stew–a stew cooked over an open fire with contributions of food items gathered by the hobos.
St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated on March 17, gives homage to the foremost Irish Saint, St. Patrick who lived from AD 385–461. The holiday celebrates the introduction of Christianity into Ireland and is filled with parades and festivals, wearing of green and tributes to Irish culture and heritage. The holiday is celebrated around the world. In our city, we have a parade–riders on floats with beer in hand; they toss green beads to the crowds. Irish bands and Irish civic groups join in. I am always amazed at the Irish heritage which comes out to celebrate in our city on this very Irish day.
I can claim a bit of Irish heritage–my great-great-great grandmother was Irish with the surmane of Rose. Although this part of my ancestry is generally forgotten; it points to the melting pot of our country.
A Mulligan is a term for a common Irishman. Although there is no definite answer as to the origins of the stew, it probably began around the turn of the century during the influx of Irish immigration to this country. During this time and up to the depression, homeless folks would live in camps near railroad tracks. The hobos would each contribute an ingredient to the community stew which was cooked on an open fire in a large pot. The man in charge of cooking the stew was known as the “mulligan mixer.” The stew is a variation of an Irish Stew with meat, potatoes and vegetables.
My Introduction to Mulligan Stew
My introduction to Mulligan Stew is an interesting experience. This was on a weekend bicycling and camping trip along the rolling hills of the Natchez Trace deep in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. In this part of rural Mississippi, time stands still and I imagine that things haven’t changed much since the depression.
My friends prepared “Mulligan Stew” over an open campfire for supper. I watched as the cooks added each ingredient in layers to the Dutch oven on the fire. The stew has always stuck in my memory because of the unusual ingredients that were in the stew. These were Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and ground sausage. This experience was just a step in time away from the hobos cooking Mulligan Stew.
Although Mulligan Stew doesn’t typically contain cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, this variation added the vegetables. Both vegetables both belong to the cabbage family of Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. These cruciferous vegetables are full of phytochemicals and vitamins and add a nutritious punch to the stew.
Mulligan Stew Recipe
Irish stew generally contains beef, lamb or mutton which is slowly cooked for several hours in a pot with root vegetables or whatever vegetables are available. This stew substituted sausage which cooked much quicker over a campfire. I tried several variations of the stew using an assortment of vegetables and potatoes. Here are the ingredients for the first variation. I included lima beans and corn in this one.
The stew is quick and easy to make. Just two steps really, after the vegetables are washed and cut up. The stew doesn’t need many spices since the sausage is already seasoned. Although I used mild sausage, a “hotter” variation can be made using hot sausage. This soup uses bulk pork sausage, which is browned in a pot; break the sausage up into chunks with a cooking spoon.
Here is the sausage and flavor ingredients for my second variation. The seasonings are Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon, salt (optional) and black pepper. This variation included diced tomatoes rather than whole peeled tomatoes; either one adds tomato flavor which enhances the flavor of the soup.
- The steps are to brown the ground sausage, onions and garlic (optional).
- Cut up the vegetables in chunks. Here are the chunks of cauliflower.
- Add water, beef bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots. Simmer until the potatoes and carrots are tender, then add the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
Mulligan Stew by MayleesKitchen
- 1 lb mild bulk, ground sausage
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
- 1-28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes with juice or 2-14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 heaping tsp beef bouillon
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt (optional)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups water
- 1 lb Gold Yukon or red potatoes (about 3 cups), washed and cut in large chunks
- 2 carrots, (about 1 cup) washed, peeled and cut in slices
- 1 cup corn kernels, either frozen and defrosted or fresh cobs (2 ears fresh corn cobs boiled and cut off cob)
- 1 cup lima beans, frozen and defrosted (optional)
- 1 small fresh cauliflower (about 1 lb or 3 cups chunks) or 1/2 large cauliflower
- 8 oz fresh Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved (about 2 cups)
Method and Steps
- Wash and prepare the fresh vegetables. Cut vegetables into large bite-size chunks. Quarter potatoes (cut into eighths for large potatoes), cut large Brussels sprouts into halves, remove cauliflower from stalk and cut into bite sizes pieces, peel and slice carrots. If using fresh corn on the cob, boil for 5 minutes, cool and cut off cob. Set vegetables aside.
- In large pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat on stove, brown bulk pork sausage, breaking up into pieces with cooking spoon.
- When sausage is browned, reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic (optional) and cook for 5 additional minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add whole peeled tomatoes with juice or diced tomatoes with juice, beef bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, salt (optional), black pepper and water. Raise heat to bring to boil.
- Add potato chunks, sliced carrots, corn kernels and lima beans (optional). When the stew returns to a boil, reduce to medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are tender.
- Add cauliflower chunks and Brussels sprouts and simmer for 30 additional minutes.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Watch for leprechauns.
St. Patrick’s Day, W ikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick%27s_Day
What Is Mulligan Stew. Wisegeek. Copyright © 2003 – 2016 Conjecture Corporation http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-mulligan-stew.htm
Mulligan Stew. Wikipedia://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulligan_stew_(food)