Friday, October 2, 2009

Mmm. Brunswick Stew.

I first had Brunswick Stew when a friend in seminary took me to shoot sporting clays at a family home place in southern Virginia. We had it for lunch. He was kind of apologizing for not having something else to offer. I was like, “Are you kidding? This stuff is great!” It's a little different looking, but is hearty with a mild and distinctive taste. I didn’t have it again for a few years until I was on a deer-hunting trip near Columbus, GA and ate at a BBQ place called “Country’s.” They served Brunswick Stew as an appetizer then and it reminded me of how good it was. I’ve had it a couple of times since, but none of them evoked the "wow that’s good!" response like the Virginia-style Brunswick Stew I had at first.

So when the first little cool-snap happened last week I got it on the brain. I found many recipes online and combined a couple that looked good. AWESOME. It made WAY too much (I fed it to our family, the church staff, and a bunch of pastors), so I reduced it and tweaked it a little. I made it again this morning and just finished THREE BOWLS. I’m telling you, I can’t get enough. It’s like the perfect meal for a cool rainy fall day!

A couple of the staff asked about the recipe, so here it is:

Brunswick Stew (Virginia style)
Ready in: 3-5 hrs Serves 9 people

4 chicken breast halves
1 small strip fatback
½ of a medium onion (chopped)
2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
½ large bag frozen sweet corn (shoe peg or white)
½ bags frozen butter beans
1 large can whole tomatoes, pureed
5 medium/large potatoes, diced
½ 40 oz. bag okra (use about 20 oz)
½ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ stick butter
1 tablespoon vinegar
¼ cup BBQ sauce (I used KC Masterpiece orig.)
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt (more if desired)
½ teaspoon pepper (more if desired)

In a large stock pot, cover chicken with water and cook until tender. Remove chicken from stock and, when it's cool enough to handle, pull chicken apart, removing all the gristle or fat.

Return chicken pieces to pot with remaining stock. Add fatback, celery and onions, and simmer until tender. Add the diced potatoes, corn and butter beans, and simmer an additional 20 minutes.

Finally, add okra, ketchup, brown sugar, bbq sauce, Worcestershire sauce, butter, bayleaf, and vinegar. Cover and simmer two hours. Remove bayleaf and fatback before serving. Serve with cornbread!

You're going to doubt me while you're combining everything. Don't. It is really good!


Phil Breedlove said...

OK...I'm thinking about trying this recipe this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Chad Sparks said...

Yeah, let me know. I'm cooking it again this weekend. I think I'm about to wear it out for my girls. Drew and I can't get enough!

Go Angels! Go Phillies! Anybody but the Yankees!