Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brunswick Stew - A Southern Classic Presented by Daring Cooks

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.

Now what is a Brunswick Stew (that's me asking myself)? According to Wikipedia, Brunswick Stew essentially resembles a very thick vegetable soup with meat. The key distinguishing factor between soup and Brunswick stew is the consistency. Brunswick stew must be thick; otherwise, it would be vegetable soup with meat added. Most variations have more meat and vegetables than liquid. It further adds that recipes for Brunswick stew vary greatly but it is usually a tomato-based stew containing various types of lima beans/butter beans, corn, okra, and other vegetables, and one or more types of meat. The authentic Brunswick Stew uses squirrel or rabbit meat, but in today's terms chicken, pork, and beef are probably the most common types of meats used.

According to one story, Brunswick stew was named for Brunswick County, Virginia. Apparently, in 1828, Dr. Creed Haskins of the Virginia state legislature asked for a special squirrel stew from "Uncle Jimmy" Matthews to feed people attending a political rally. Brunswick, Georgia residents claim their stew is the original. It's just as likely the stew -- or at least a very similar version -- was created much earlier. With the original ingredients of game (usually squirrel) and corn, and long simmering over an open fire, it's typical of early native dishes.

I can honestly say I had no clue what to expect from this recipe at all. I've had stews before but one such as this, NO! From what I had read in the Daring Cooks forum, the stew should be so thick that a wooden spoon could stick up straight if it was stuck in the middle of the pot. The stew was very flavourful and robust. In fact it tasted even better the next day but I think I'll be sticking with stews I'm more familiar with.

brunswick 1

brunswick 3

brunswick 4

Brunswick Stew
Serves 5 - 6
Recipe Adapted from "The Williamsburg Cookbook"


1 medium sized chicken (about 1.5kg or slightly more)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tbsp bacon bits (fried until crispy, keep 2 Tbsp of the oil)
1 can of stewed tomatoes
1 medium tomato, remove the seeds/pulp and cut into 1" cubes
1 cup broad beans (I couldn't find lima beans)
2 medium potatoes, diced into 1" cubes
1 can corn kennels
1/2 cup baby carrots, cut into 1" length
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 dried bay leaves
2 tsp fresh taraggon
Salt and black pepper to taste


1) Cut chicken into pieces, remove the skin. Blanch the chicken pieces in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes to remove some of the scum.

2)Throw away the water and rinse the chicken quickly. Add 2 quarts of water into the pot. Throw in the bay leaves. Simmer the chicken until the meat can be easily removed from the bones - this should take about 1 1/2 hours (or slightly less).

3) Once chicken is soft, take out from the pot and debone it. Shred the chicken meat and set aside.

4) Add all the raw vegetables to broth and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are cooked.

5) Finally add in the shredded chicken, taraggon, seasoning and bacon oil. Simmer for about 2 minutes and your stew is done.

brunswick 2

brunswick 5


Mr. Pineapple Man said...

are these all your pictures? if so, you're a pro! great postings!

El said...

Absolutely lovely! And how delicious!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely stew! Very nicely done.

noobcook said...

Your stew looks extra yummy especially with the puff pastry top :)

Audax said...

WOW you out did yourself and the puff pastry version look divine. Your photos are cookbook quality and great you did the challenge with so much gusto! Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

innBrooklyn said...

Love the pot pie idea - I've got leftovers and I'm inspired!

Winnie said...

I love the presentation and your pics are fabulous! Mine honestly was probably not as thick as it was supposed to be...but I did enjoy it!

Cherine said...

Wow, this stew looks magnificent. I love the way you presented it! Great photos!!!

Marisa said...

Great photos - love the idea of turning the stew into little pot pies. Genius.

Anonymous said...

YUM! The stew with the puff pastry on top looks delicious! What a great idea!

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

Gorgeous presentation! Your stew looks terrific!

Anonymous said...

Sounds superb especially topped with puff pastry, yum!

Denise said...

I have those same lions head bowls! Beautiful job and I love the fancy edges on your puff pastry!

Amy Lucille said...

Beautiful job, I love the look of those pies.

chef_d said...

Wow that's a very goodlooking stew! Great job!

Sophie said...

Hello Jo!!

What a superb & divine looking stew!!

This is top food! Fab pictures too!

Lori said...

That was a great idea to make a pot pie out of it. Good thinking.

tigerfish said...

Puff pastry brunswick stew! Very nice :D

Mark @ Cafe Campana said...

What a great autumn meal. So warming on a cool day.

Juliana said...

Wow, great great got my mouth watering :-) Love the way you presented the stew, and the flaky dough looks so yummie!

Angie's Recipes said...

Beautiful pictures! The stew covered with pastry sounds totally delicious.

Jo said...

Hi all, thanks for dropping by. I had great fun with this challenge and totally loved how easy it was to put everything together. The pot pies were a great change as well and we loved dunking the puff pastry into the stew.

Hi Denise, I got the bowls during a sale - couldn't resist buying them.

Dimah said...

Lovely photos! Your stew looks fabulous!

Lisa said...

Oh wow, your stew looks beautiful and I love the biscuit topping a la Brunswick pot pie. Amazing job in every way!!

Eat4Fun said...

Terrific pictures... The puff pastry covered stew looks very comfort food like and delicious. Pot pies are very popular in the US. I'm a fan.

The Duo Dishes said...

Recently found out about Brunswick Stew from a Food Network show. We both spent a lot of time in the South and have never had it! It looks good.

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