In a new show filmed in her Highlands home, chef Damaris Phillips and her vegetarian husband showcase the seemingly impossible: mouth-watering southern dishes made without meat. Hungry yet?
By Damaris Phillips | Photos submitted
We started filming my first in-the-kitchen cooking show, Southern At Heart, right here in Kentucky in 2013. Fast forward nearly a decade and I am ready to invite people back into my kitchen for a new show, Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy.
Many aspects are still the same. We make comfort food. There is still a bit of improv singing as I cook. The goal is still to help people feel more comfortable in the kitchen. But two things are very different. First of all, this time we are actually at my home. Because of a new partnership with GE Appliances, Darrick and I built a studio kitchen. It was always the dream to be able to film from home and now we can do that.
The second big difference is that all the recipes are vegetarian or vegan. Because we control the content, we also have 100% creative control and, to me, it just seemed like it was about time that someone made a cooking show that teaches people how to make delicious food that just happens to be vegetarian.
People are often mystified at how Darrick and I merge our culinary styles. So, here are a few answers to the questions I got from the curious TW editors.
How does a Southern girl cope with vegetarian dietary restrictions in general?
My grandmother would have been mortified if a guest at her house didn’t have anything to eat. She was always thoughtful and attentive to the needs of her guests. I think this is one of the signs of a good host, so it feels natural for me to want to make sure that I know how to make delicious food that everyone can enjoy.
How have his eating habits changed yours and how have yours changed his?
The biggest change is that our home is vegetarian. All the meals made and enjoyed in our house don’t contain animals. It was a surprisingly easy shift and makes everything much simpler when it comes to grocery shopping and planning meals.
Have you found a way to blend the two different dietary approaches?
Darrick is from California originally and didn’t grow up eating many of our family staples. Meatloaf, “chicken fried,” casseroles, our tendency to add mayonnaise to anything and call it a salad, just wasn’t what he ate. And I had a habit of eating meat. The compromise is vegetarian southern and midwestern dishes. It is a fun culinary experiment and we always eat well.
Are there any new favorite dishes you’ve dreamed up or discovered due to cooking vegetarian?
I’m so excited about the recipes for this first season of Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy. They are simple, delicious and comforting. If anyone is looking to add more vegetarian dishes to their weekly menu, I hope they will try my Vegetarian Stroganoff, which I’ve included here. Those are probably my favorite recipes of the season and I’m happy to share them with those who can’t believe vegetarian food can taste just as good as what our grandmothers cooked.
- 1 pound noodles
- 1 pound ground meat substitute
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup vegetable broth (or bouillon and water)
- 2 cups oat milk or cream
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
- 3/4 cup sour cream or vegan sour cream
- Salt and pepper
- Green onions for garnish
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.
- Meanwhile, heat a large cast iron skillet and sear off the meat substitute in dime to quarter-sized chunks. Cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Sauté the onions until just beginning to become translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and continue to cook until both are tender and the liquid has cooked off, about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining oil. Add the flour. Stir to coat all the vegetables and cook 1 to 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
- Add the garlic powder and mustard and stir. Slowly whisk in the vegetable broth, then the oat milk. Stir to prevent clumping and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens, about
3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the liquid smoke, bourbon and the cooked meat substitute. Cook until heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Temper the sour cream so that it doesn’t curdle in the sauce. Do this by adding 1/2 of the hot sauce to the yogurt/vegan sour cream, 2 tablespoons at a time. Then add the mixture to the sauce. Stir and remove from heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the sauce with the drained noodles. Serve immediately, garnished with green onions and parsley.