A good, hearty stew is always something to keep in a cook’s back-burner repertoire, particularly if you can find one that doesn’t consist of beef or lamb. Brunswick Stew is a tomato-based, chicken and vegetable soup that’s masquerading as a stew, because it’s thicker than a soup. I like it because one big bowl will satisfy hunger, but all of the veggies swimming in it promise a fairly healthy meal. If you like, you can substitute turkey bacon for the standard variety.
And while historically, this southern stew can be made with squirrel and rabbit, we’ve been fresh out ever since Flopsy completed her most recent tour of yard duty. That, or the varmints are hiding out in burrows to escape the icy cold temps we’ve been experiencing. Here’s to warmer weather, and a tasty stew to warm you up in the meantime.
Brunswick Stew Recipe
5 lbs chicken pieces, with skin and bones
1 quart water, or more if necessary to cover chicken
4 slices bacon, cut into 2-inch segments
2 large onions, diced
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 10 oz packages frozen baby lima beans
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Dash red pepper sauce
1 16 oz package frozen corn
4 T butter, melted
4 T flour
In a large, heavy Dutch oven, stew chicken, water, bacon, onion, and salt covered for 2 hours over medium-low heat. Add water to cover chicken, if necessary.
Remove chicken to cutting board and let cool. Remove meat from skin and bones. Cut into one-inch pieces. Return chicken to pot and discard skin and bones.
Add rest of ingredients, except for corn, butter, and flour. Bring to low boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Add corn and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
In small bowl, combine flour and melted butter, mixing to form a paste. Add to stew and simmer 30 minutes.
Serve stew in deep cups to retain heat. Cornbread pairs well with this, topped with honey butter.
Note: While the prep time for this stew can add up, the bonus you’ll receive is a great freezer meal. It makes a lot, and freezes well. Think of your prep time as an investment in future relaxation.
If you’re wondering why this recipe, posted around Valentine’s Day, may not seem all that romantic (squirrels, dogs, etc.), just remember: a home cooked meal always tells someone how much you love them!
Besides, Stephanie Davis, our Wine Heroine from Winacea, suggests pairing this hearty Brunswick Stew with a lovely Mon Coeur Côtes-du-Rhône blend of Syrah and Grenache, produced by J.L. Chave. With its affordable $20 or less price tag, and beautiful ruby red color, the heart on the label is only an added reminder that when you sip this Mon Coeur Côtes-du-Rhône with someone you love, you are sharing your heart.
Happy Valentine’s Day and Cheers!
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