Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : The Mexicali Beef-less Steak Dinner & Potlucking Stone Soup Style

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There is a lot going on here... 4 recipes in fact. Keep reading it will all make sense.
Growing up one of my very favorite stories was called Stone Soup. If you're not familiar, it's a very old European folk tale that goes something like this:

Two starving soldiers return home from a war and find themselves lost, with only a big soup pot and nothing to put in it. They finally find a town that looks prosperous, but is kinda sad. They go door to door begging for food, but because it's winter everyone is unwilling to share. So the soldiers go into the town square, fill the pot with water and toss in a large stone. They light the fire and then sit back and wait. Eventually one of the townspeople gets curious, wanders out, and asks what they're doing. The soldiers explain they are making 'Stone Soup' - a rare and delicious dish. They only wish they had a few carrots to help bring out the flavor. The townie is intrigued, and runs home to grab some carrots. On the way he stops by his friend's house and tells them about the soup. Curious, his friend wanders out to check it out. Then the soldiers say that the soup would be perfect with some potatoes. This townie offers them some potatoes. One by one the town comes out to check out the soup and then runs home to fetch a few turnips, onions, beans, some fennel, salt, and various other vegetables and seasonings. In the end they have this massive pot of delicious soup and a big party! Then they do the dance of joy!
While looking through Betty's Big Red, I often find myself wondering how to not just make something vegan, but how to make each dish something special. This recipe started out as Betty's Mexicali Round Steak, but with a little Stone Soup Strategy and a lot more vegetables, we made this into a Mexicali Feast!

When you read through the ingredients list, you'll notice it's a bit long, but this feast cooks quickly and will feed about 6-8. Just assign an ingredient to each of your friends when you invite them over, make sure you have a big enough soup pot and you have a party!

You ready to dance?

Mexicali Beef-less Steak Dinner
  • 2 Packages Gardein Beef-less Tips or Beef Seitan
  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Few Dashes Liquid Smoke
  • 2 Tablespoons Braggs
  • 2 Cans Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 Can Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 Cans Lentils (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 Red Onion (diced)
  • 3 Small Bell Peppers (diced - we used one red, one yellow and one orange but it's your call)
  • 1 Jar of Your Favorite Salsa
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (28 ozs)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Jalapenos (sliced and drained - you can add more or less of these depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro (diced - you may want to save some for a topping)
  • 2 Tablespoon Hot Sauce (again - you can add more or less of this depending on how hot you like it)
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Beer or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 Ears of Corn (cut in half)
  • 5 Cups Brown Rice (cooked)
  • 1 Can Black Olives (sliced - for a topping)
  • 1 Package Vegan Sour Cream (not pictured - for a topping)
In your favorite cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon Hot Sauce and 2 dashes of Liquid Smoke on a medium heat. Once your Oil is hot, add the Gardein. Cook your Gardein in the Oil until it is browned and has slightly crispy edges.

While your Gardein is cooking, in a large soup pot, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil, a few dashes of Liquid Smoke, Braggs, Beans and Red Onion over a medium heat for about 30 seconds to a minute until the Onion begins to become tender. Then add remaining ingredients except Corn, Rice, Black Olives and Vegan Sour Cream. Mix your ingredients and cover. Let simmer for 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Then toss in Corn Cobs and cover. Turn heat down to low and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

When you serve, put the Brown Rice down first and then the Gardein. Then pour a ladle of the Bean mix over the top and then you can add Guacamole and Salsas and all tops of toppings and yumminess... it all kinda depends on how awesome your friends are.

Here's some extra recipes to top your super awesome Mexicali Feast with :

Fresh Salsa (you might remember this from Dan's post : Southwestern Sausages with Spicy Corn )
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 8 green onions
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon jalepenos (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

You’re gonna start with the tomatoes. Cut them in quarters, and scoop out all the juicy seedy parts on the inside. Just leave yourself with the skin from the outside—like you’d cut a pepper (foreshadowing!). Chop that part up into bits about the size of nickels or dimes, depending on how chunky you want your salsa to be. Chop the green pepper and green onions next, into pieces smaller than the size you cut the tomatoes into.

Mix everything together in, well, a mixing bowl. Make sure all the tasty little bits are pretty evenly distributed through the tomatoes.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least an hour. No sweat if it stays in there longer than that. You’re just giving all the flavors time to have a big party with the lights off and get their flavors all into one another. That sounds filthy.

Fresh Salsa Verde
  • 2 Pounds Tomatillos (whole and husked)
  • 2 Tablespoons Jalapenos (sliced)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro
  • 11/2 Cup Water
Place all ingredients in your chiquitita cast iron skillet, cover and heat on medium heat for 10 minutes. Check on your Salsa often and stir it to blend flavors. Then pour into your food processor and blend until it is a smooth liquid. Then put in an airtight container and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Dan's Guacmole ( you might remember this one from : The Betty Crocker Project : Special Leftovers Edition)
  • 2 Large Ripe Avocado
  • 2 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1 Clove Garlic (minced)
  • Dash of Texas Pete Hot Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Mashed the Avocado into a paste and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Then eat - eat - eat.


  1. I would eat that pile of loveliness any day! ;)

  2. I KNOW - It's a huge pile of messy awesome! :)

  3. In college, on camping trips we would make "stone soup" which usually ended up being something like ramen noodles cooked in beer with maybe an odd carrot roughly chopped with a swiss army knife thrown in there. Yours looks SO MUCH better.

  4. Mad props for referencing the Dance of Joy! I heart Balki and Cossin Larry. The pile of loveliness looks lovely too.