Before we gave meat the boot for good, I have to admit that we ate a lot of hamburger. In fact, I’m a wee bit embarrassed about it, quite frankly, considering that hamburger isn’t exactly considered health food, even by those folks who do eat meat. (Not to mention the fact that coming down with a nasty case of E. Coli is a heck of a lot more possible with hamburger than it is with other types of meat. Hardly a day goes by now without word of yet another recall somewhere in North America. Heck, you almost need to treat it like toxic waste while you’re cooking with it, or else you risk making someone sick. ) I wouldn’t be surprised to see instructions on cooking hamburger in the future to include elbow-high rubber gloves and safety goggles.
However, you do have to admit that hamburger is convenient, relatively cheap, and very versatile, which made it an attractive option for this busy Mom at the end of the workday. So when we gave it up, hamburger was one of the first things I focused on replacing.
Luckily, meat substiutes are big business these days, so finding something we all liked just as well was easy. Enter Stage Left, Soy Ground Round!
There are two brands that I know of that are available here in Bridgewater; one is made by Yves, and is available in both Sobeys and the Superstore. My favourite is the ground round made by President’s Choice Blue Menu, available in the deli section at the Superstore.
It retails for $3.99 but goes on sale fairly frequently for $2.99, so I stock up at those times and chuck them in the fridge.
We use the soy ground round in most dishes that call for hamburger, like Hamburger Helper….
Spaghetti and “meat” sauce……
…and sloppy joes.
In fact, soy ground round is so much like the real thing that I’ve served dishes made with it to die-hard meat lovers (who would rather die than give up their grip on their steak) and they didn’t even know it wasn’t hamburger. Even those who can tell it isn’t real still find it perfectly tasty.Besides being versatile and relatively inexpensive, it also keeps in the fridge for a coons age, is way better for your health, (zero cholesterol or trans fats) and you don’t have to sweat bullets if it gets left out on the counter for a while.
Only one caveat: It seems to be tastier in dishes with a tomato base, like pasta sauce, than with a gravy base. (Although I haveused it to make that Lunenburg county oddity of hamburger and gravy over fries! )
So in honour of this fabulous product, here is a very simple chili recipe made with it. This would be a great way to introduce skeptical meat eaters to the Joy of Soy. Oi!
Can o’ This, Can o’ That Chili
Begin with a large pot.
2 Tsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
~Sauté until onions start to brown. Then add:
1- 284 ml can of condensed tomato soup (I use Heinz) plus one can of water
1 -796 ml can of diced tomatoes, pureed in the can with an immersion blender. (Or simply dump into a bowl and mash if you like your tomatoes chunky) plus one can of water.
1-284 ml can of mushroom pieces and stems, drained
1-398 ml can of red kidney beans. Take about a quarter of the beans and mash them with a fork before adding to the chilli.)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 ½ to 2 tsp chilli powder
¾ tsp onion powder
¾ tsp garlic salt
Then and only then, add:
1 package soy “ground round”, crumbled.
Simmer until chilli is thick and vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes.