Favorite Dish: Brunswick Stew
College football is here and the temperatures are transitioning from miserable humidity to crisp, breezy days…..perfect weather for tailgating! Although there are many dishes we enjoy sharing with others in the parking lot of our beloved university, Brunswick stew has to be one of our favorites. It’s easy to prepare ahead of time and maintains its flavor through those marathon evening game times. While Georgia humorist Roy Blount once said, “Brunswick stew is what happens when small mammals carrying ears of corn fall into barbeque pits,” we’d like to think it is everything good about The South in a pot.
What’s interesting is that no one is completely sure of the origin of this complicated, but also very simple dish. Brunswick, GA and Brunswick County, Virginia have claimed it originated in their communities. In her book, Cross Creek Cookery, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote that the stew may actually have originated in Braunschweig, Germany. Wherever it first started, we’re glad our ancestors refined and passed it down to us.
Each region has put their mark on Brunswick stew recipes. In Virginia, chicken is the primary meat, with some rabbit. Georgians spice their stew and use a mixture of pork, chicken, and beef. In North Carolina, they add pulled pork to their recipe and the Kentucky version is known as Burgoo. While ingredients, spices, and the meats may change from region to region, the constant is a delicious, thick tomato-based stew.
If this quick commentary has you yearning for a hearty bowl of Brunswick stew, grab a pot and try our recipe:
Brunswick Stew: Makes 1.5 gallons (can be easily halved)
1 16 oz. bottle Sugar Hill Smokehouse Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce 1 lb. Pulled smoked or rotisserie chicken 12 oz. Pulled pork 7 + 1 Cups Chicken stock or broth (recipe for stock below) 4 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes 6 Cups ½-inch dice peeled russet potatoes (@ two baking potatoes) 4 Cups coarse chopped yellow onion 4 Ears fresh corn kernels removed from cob or 4 cups frozen corn 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic 1 Tablespoon black pepper 1 Tablespoon salt 4 Bay leaves ¼ Cup corn starch
In an 8 quart stock pot bring the 7 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Add the potatoes, onions, garlic, black pepper, salt and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the tomatoes, corn, chicken and pork. Take the remaining cup of stock and stir in the corn starch until completely dissolved. Add the corn starch mixture into the pot and stir until thickened. Stir in the bottle of Sweet and Tangy BBQ sauce and simmer for an hour. For a thicker consistency add corn starch to cold water until dissolved and add to the stew. Serve with corn bread, crackers or Texas toast. It is also great with your favorite grilled cheese sandwich.
Homeade Chicken Stock:
Debone a smoked or rotisserie chicken and reserve the bones for the stock. Use a pound of the chicken for the Brunswick stew or other recipe. In a 6 quart stock pot add a gallon of water, two celery stalks, a cut up medium onion and four cloves of garlic mashed or chopped. Bring the mixture to a boil; put the cover on with a fork under the lid for steam to escape. Reduce the heat and simmer until the stock is reduced by half. Allow the stock to slightly cool and strain into another container. Discard the chicken bones and vegetables.