Dry those tears, Sen. Rand Paul.
For while you may not have used the regular channels fellow Hill denizens Dave Gustafson, Sara Bondioli or Shana Teehan utilized to have me hunt me down their favorite foodstuffs, this dining sleuth picked up on your online bellyaching about the dearth of burgoo stew in Congress all the same.
The Senate cafeteria never has burgoo.
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) December 23, 2013
The Kentucky Republican made note of the hole in his diet earlier this week whilst channeling his inner Frank Costanza.
A huntsman’s feast, not unlike Virginia’s own Brunswick stew, burgoo is based upon slow-cooking your choice of meat — beef, chicken or pork will do in a pinch; strict traditionalists might clamor for gamier fare (squirrel, mutton) — with a full complement of fresh vegetables. A splash of bourbon hitches a ride as well.
The wintry dish was typically assembled by reducing said ingredients in an iron kettle over a roaring flame — all of which sounds quite heavenly given that I can feel a seasonal chill numbing my fingertips even as I tap away on this keyboard.
Although not a Bluegrass State native, Founding Farmers executive chef Joe Goetze admires the love and ceremony that inhabit the very essence of our ancestral meals.
“Any time I can create something in our restaurants an old timer made that gave good reason to sit around and trash talk and sip fine spirits, I'll do it,” the sentimentalist shared, adding that “Kentucky Burgoo stew [is] one of those ‘foods that hug you.’”
Goetze introduced just such a slate of core-warming creations just a few weeks back.
Burgoo is one of the “Dead of Winter Stews” available to those pull up a chair at the Founding Farmers locations in D.C. or Montgomery County, Maryland.
Braised sirloin serves as the backbone of this flavorful reinterpretation. The beef, broken down by patience and low-flame, is deliciously tender. The stock-soaked protein swims alongside softened potatoes, caramelized onions, dulcet carrots and peppery celery ribs in a cinnamon-sweetened reduction. A Founding Farmers aide assured me Goetze doctors his stew with Knob Creek bourbon, but the small-batch hooch was virtually undetectable amidst the intoxicating meat-and-veggies medley.
Still not sold, senator?
Should the burgoo not be to your tastes (we suspect it will be), you can always give Goetze’s take on the fabled Senate bean soup for a whirl.
The Founding Farmers version sticks with the basics (multiple beans, lusty swine), but embellishes things a bit by capping the familiar with a tangle of crispy fried onions and a healthy dose of Tabasco. The result is much spicier than the bowls ladled out by Senate food workers — and that’s a good thing.
Both dishes are expected to remain on the Founding Farmers menu through the spring.
We look forward to your report, sir.