If you’ve been following my recipe posts, you’ll already know that I cook like a maniac, with reckless abandon. I think I developed my method in part from necessity. When I was a kid, my mom would let me cook when I wanted, but I usually had to make do with what was on hand, and I rarely had a recipe book to use. It had to come from my imagination. The other part I think is just my personality. I’m a rebel. I can rarely follow “rules,” even if they promise a tasty meal.
I created this recipe about 10 years ago when Jeff and I were still teens with a new baby, and broke as a joke. One day we had very little food in the house and no money, but we had to eat something. So, I scrounged and came up with some odds and ends that included potatoes, some leftover sausage, and few random veggies. I just started cooking it all in a pan, and planned to serve it with rice. It tasted okay, but I thought it would be better with barbecue sauce, so I tossed some in the pan, hoping I didn’t just ruin our perfectly mediocre meal.
Not only did I not ruin the meal with the barbecue sauce, but I created what would be a family favorite for years. Since it was a “meat and potatoes” dish, I called it the “Poor Man’s Stir Fry” for a while. Then, I changed it to the “American Stir Fry”. However, as Jeff and I were living in Southern Illinois at the time, and it always made me nostalgic for my home, Kansas City, I decided that it’s official name should be “Kansas City Stir Fry.” I mean, if people only know one thing about Kansas City, it’s that we have the best barbecue in the world. (Sorry Texas, but it’s true.) So, I thought the name was appropriate.
Kansas City Stir Fry
serves about 6-8. Keep in mind that all measurements are approximate. This is not an exact recipe. Also, these will not be my best directions since I practically make this with my eyes closed. Charlie wrote a more detailed description of how she cooks a good stir fry. You could follow that, and just use the ingredients I suggest.
1 lb sausage (I’ve used everything from my favorite which is Kielbasa or brats to Lil’ Smokies to Spanish Chorizo–I’ve even made it vegetarian with big, juicy chunks of mushroom)
2 large russet potatoes, or 4-6 red or gold new
a few cups of whatever veggies you have on hand–this time I used baby carrots and asparagus, but in the past I’ve used broccoli, bell peppers, squash, mushrooms, cabbage, green beans, corn, etc.
2-3 cloves of garlic
Barbecue sauce (my favorite for this is Jack Stack Original)
salt and pepper to taste
1. This is optional, but I like to parboil the potatoes. If I’m using carrots, I parboil them as well. That just means that cut them up, and drop them in boiling water for about 5 minutes. They won’t be cooked through, but they’ll cook faster in the skillet.
2. In a nice and hot skillet (wok-shaped preferably) over med-high, pour a swig of oil, then toss in the sausage. I like to do the sausage first, ’cause I like it to crisp up. Cook for about a minute, then add the potatoes (and carrots if using). Cook for another minute or two, or until it all starts to brown, then add onions and other veggies. Cook until desired texture is reached. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute.
3. Start with 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce, stir it in, and taste. Add more barbecue sauce if needed, until it tastes delicious.
4. Serve over rice.
NOTE: The barbecue sauce you use makes a big difference! My favorite for dipping fries and burgers is Gates (spicy, peppery, very vinegary), but my favorite in a pulled pork recipe, or a dish like Kansas City Stir Fry is Jack Stack Original (a little sweet, tangy, a hint of spice, and while still a vinegar sauce, a little thicker than Gates). Don’t use KC Masterpiece (if you are a local)! That stuff is pretty awful!
I’ve been excited to share this recipe for a long time, so if you make it, you’ve got to let me know what you think!