Brunswick Stew

Brunswick stew apparently got its name from Brunswick County, Virginia, as an adaptation of Native American food. At its heart are meat and corn cooked together, and the meat was traditionally rabbit and/or squirrel. The recipe has changed over the years (although when I see the &$*&#&*# squirrels eating my birdseed I have other thoughts), and now usually uses chicken with an occasional addition of small amounts of pork side meat. And of course there are as many recipes as there are southern cooks. Here’s one I like. Serve with southern-style cornbread.

1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
A few chunks of carrot and celery, perhaps 1 c of each
1 large garlic clove halved
Big pinch salt
A few whole peppercorns

Put the chicken in a soup pot and cover with cold water. Add the other ingredients and bring to the simmer for 20 minutes. Cover, turn off heat, and let sit for another 20 minutes.Remove meat from pot. When it’s cool enough to handle, take the meat off the bones. Use your fingers to shred the the breast meat and set aside.Reserve the leg meat for chicken salad or some other use. Put all bones and skin back in the soup pot and simmer for another hour or so. Strain thru a fine colander and discard the solids. You should have about 8 c of stock, the exact amount is not critical. Set aside, skimming excess fat if needed.

1 large or 2 small baking potatoes
1 baseball-sized onion in large dice
2-9 oz packages frozen Lima beans, thawed and drained
2-14 oz cans creamed corn
2-14 oz cans diced tomatoes with juice

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch dice. Cook in well-salted water until just barely tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat a little oil or bacon fat over medium heat in a Dutch oven  Cook onions and Lima beans for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the onion is translucent. Add the potatoes, corn, and tomatoes and stir for a moment.

The chicken stock
1/4 c hot sauce such as Frank’s or Texas Pete (avoid Tabasco)
1 TB salt
2 TB sugar
1/2 TB or more freshly ground black pepper

Add the above ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.

The shredded chicken
1/2 stick butter

Add the chicken and butter and stir until the butter melts. Check for salt, pepper, and spiciness and adjust as desired. Enjoy!
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