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Chicago cafe offers vegetarians more options

September 14, 2009 8:55:45 AM PDT
Chicago may have a reputation as a meat-and-potatoes town, but the Windy City's early history may be more closely aligned with vegetarian cooking.ABC7 Chicago's Hungry Hound says consider the food culture of the Native Americans. One Evanston restaurant is doing just that this season with a special vegetarian-friendly dish now on its menu.

Many vegetarians in the Chicago area know that the Blind Faith Cafe in Evanston is the granddaddy. An early pioneer, along with places like the Chicago Diner, proving that vegetarian and vegan doesn't have to mean flavorless and bland.

One of the restaurant's new dishes, updating an old recipe, is sagamite, a traditional Native American dish. Executive Chef Jonadab Silva showed food reporter Steve Dolinsky how to make it.

Blind Faith Cafe-Sagamite'
(Serves Four)

You can prepare the sauce a day before and let the flavors integrate over night. Precook or prepare all other ingredients beforehand and finish the dish just before serving.

Sauce:

1 T Clarified Butter
1/2 Cup Diced Squash
1/2 Cup Diced Onions
1/2 Cup Diced Carrots
1/2 Cup Diced Green Peppers
1 T Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Flour
2 quarts Hot Vegetable or Beef Stock

Sauté ingredients above in clarified butter.
Once they are golden brown add the tomato paste.
Cook tomato paste for a couple of minutes until rust colored.
Add flour and mix well, making sure all the flour gets integrated.
Cook for two minutes over medium heat. Be careful not to burn the mixture.
Add more clarified butter if needed.
Add hot stock, stir well, and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.
Season with black pepper and (2) bay leaves
Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Cool fast and refrigerate until served.

Sagamite' Mix:
2 Cups Canned Hominy Corn (soak, change water 5 or 6 times, rinse well and dry thoroughly)
1/2 Cup Wild Rice - Cooked
1 Cup Jerusalem Artichoke or Sun Choke - Steamed
2 Cups Wild Mushrooms
2 Cups Apple Smoked Heirloom Squash - Diced in Large Cubes
2 Cups Common Purslane (also know as Verdolaga, Pigweed, or Pusley)
12 (each) Epazote Leaves
1 T Clarified Butter

To Finish the Dish:
Heat a skillet, add clarified butter, and sauté hominy corn until golden.
Once golden add wild rice, sun chokes, and wild mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are done.
Add the squash, common purslane, epazote and two cups of sauce.
Heat the rest of the sauce in a separate pan while the sagamite is cooking.
Cook sagamite until squash is heated through and serve.
Divide sautéed Sagamite mix among four dinner plates
Add 1 oz. of the heated sauce over each plated serving.
You can also finish this dish with some braised duck or lamb.

Blind Faith Cafe
525 Dempter Ave., Evanston
847-328-6875
www.blindfaithcafe.com.


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