April 14, 2010

Brunswick Stew

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Brunswick stew

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

Brunswick Stew is a classic Southern stew that has various meats and vegetables slowly simmered until thick enough a spoon will be able to stand up in the middle without falling over. Brunswick County, Virginians claim they invented the stew in 1828 when Dr. Creed Haskins of the Virginia state legislature asked for a special squirrel stew from a camp cook, Jimmy Matthews, to feed people attending a political rally. Brunswick, Georgia residents claim theirs is the original. The earlier stew had ingredients of game, usually squirrel, and corn, and simmered in large iron pots over open fire. Nowadays it's made with chicken or a combination of several meats such as rabbit, beef, and pork. The vegetables are onions, corn, and tomatoes, and many recipes have lima or butter beans, peas, and maybe okra.

I have lived here in Virginia for 18 years but never had Brunswick Stew so I was enthusiastic and eager to try it. We were given 2 recipe choices, a long one and a shortened version which has precooked variety of meats. I chose the shortened one because I already have in the freezer precooked chicken, turkey, and a mystery bird that I mistakenly bought from the Korean grocery a week before the recipe challenge was announced. The label on the package said fowl which I didn't notice when I picked it up. I was looking for the smallest chicken and it was small at just over a pound. I realized my mistake when I got home and boiled it anyway with some seasonings and vegetables. I removed the bones and froze the meat and its broth for later use. The bird, which could be a game hen but not the same as Cornish hens as it didn't look like one, is very lean with very white breast meat and very dark thin tough legs. Probably the reason I kept it instead of returning it to the store is it was destined to be made into Brunswick stew. And it was a good mistake too because the fowl's slight gamey flavor, definitely stronger than chicken, was a fantastic addition to the medley of flavors of turkey, chicken, ham, crumbled fried bacon, onions, Yukon gold potatoes, carrots, baby lima beans, tomatoes, sweet corn, and herbs [I used fresh thyme, sage, marjoram, and bay leaves] which I bundled in a piece of cheesecloth together with a few black peppercorns and 2 ripe jalapeƱo chilis for a little kick. The very yummy stew was simmered for more than 2 hours in a combination of chicken and fowl broth and a small amount of fresh tomato juice until very very thick. I love the stew alone, with sliced white bread, or with freshly baked flaky buttery biscuits. I will definitely make this stew again with other meat combination such as rabbit and veal. Thank you Wolf for choosing this awesome stew for April 2010 Daring Cooks challenge.

Brunswick Stew

This is the recipe I used (I omitted the tablespoon of sugar):
2½ pounds total diced stewed chicken, turkey, and ham, with broth
3 medium diced potatoes
2 medium ripe crushed tomatoes
2 medium diced onions
3 cups corn kernels
1½ cups frozen baby lima beans
2 carrots, diced
4 strips crumbled bacon
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper
fresh tomato juice
  • In large stock pot or Dutch oven, mix all ingredients until bubbly and hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato juice as desired. Cook until all vegetables are tender and stew has thickened. Serve hot with flaky biscuits or corn bread.


Balise said...

Very nice post-made me smile! Love your picture, it's so colorful with the green, orange, yellow and beige. And the addition of the poem at the end is a very nice touch.

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

Your stew looks really thick and delicious - great job!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading your post. What a nice idea to add fowl! I remember having seen that in our grocery store - maybe I try it the next time when I make this stew. Yes, there will be a next time, because I thought it was extremely yummy. You've changed your blog design, haven't you?

Wolf said...

Hullo fellow Virginian! }:P Well done on the Challenge!

No idea what your mystery bird was either! LOL

Unknown said...

Beautiful looking stew!

Sidney said...

A dish for the adventurous !

shelley c. said...

It must have been fate that you picked up the mystery fowl! Your stew looks YUMMY!! Great job!

Anonymous said...

I think your stew looks exactly how I imagined the stew should look. Much prettier than mine. That recipe card is a wonderful addition to your post.

chef_d said...

I think your stew looks very delicious! Yummy!

Rosemary & Garlic said...

lovely post.

Oggi said...

Hi all, thanks!:)

Sidney, I'm willing to try squirrel if I can catch and know how to skin one.:D

Wolf, I asked the people at the store and they also don't know.:)

Kitchen Butterfly said...

I love the image of the Virginia BS recipe! Yours looks good too!

Oggi said...

Kitchen Butterfly, I just had to put it in here, it's a nice poem-recipe.:)

Unknown said...

How did you stew the chicken, ham, and turkey.

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