Monday, March 2, 2009

Food For The Soul..............

One of the things that you can count on here in North Carolina is that just as soon as the leaves start to turn in the fall until the buds appear in the trees you will see homemade signs on the roadside advertising Brunswick stew for sale. It's been a tradition for as long as I can remember. Local churches, Volunteer Fire Departments, Boy and Girl Scout troops and school bands all sell stew as a method of fund raising.

Both Brunswick VA and Brunswick GA claim to be the birthplace of Brunswick stew, I don't believe it. I think much like it's cousins Burgoo of Kentucky and Jambalaya of Louisiana it was developed as a way to feed large numbers of people with limited amounts of meat. In the early days of politics about the only way they could get people out to hear the speeches was to either get them drinks or food. Brunswick stew fits that bill to a T.

Some will tell you that Brunswick stew should had multiple types of meat in it. Beef, pork, chicken and various types of game have all been added but it just depends on what you feel like eating. The recipe that has been passed down in my family only has chicken in it. I like it just fine, but what ever floats your boat. A friend of mine told me that it wasn't Brunswick stew unless it had squirrel meat in it. He made up a mess of it one time with squirrel in it. I kid you not, it tasted like a wet dog smells. I didn't go back for seconds.

Anyhow, here is the recipe that has been in my family for a good while, at least as far back as my great grandmother. Try it out, I think you will like it.

Brunswick Stew

1 whole Chicken, cut up
1 onion, quartered
2 ribs celery, diced
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
16 ½ ounces white shoe peg corn
10 ounces frozen small butterbeans
1 Lb. can tomatoes
2 Small potatoes, cubed
1/3 cup ketchup
2-3 Tbs. vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire
½ tsp. hot sauce
¼ tsp. Marjoram
1 Tbs. brown sugar
2-3 Tbs. Butter

Place chicken in Dutch oven and add enough water to cover well. Add onion, celery, salt and pepper. Boil until chicken comes off bones easily. Remove chicken to cool and add corn, butter beans, tomatoes, potatoes, ketchup and vinegar; cook for two hours or until tender. Remove chicken from bones and add to vegetables along with Worcestershire, hot sauce, marjoram, brown sugar and butter. Heat thoroughly.

Serves 6-8

Note: Vary amount of water for thick or soupy stew. Add a cup of chicken broth or bouillon after the first or second serving. Also be careful that when it starts thickening, it will stick unless you stir it frequently. I.M.H.O. it's much better if cooked outside over a wood fire, but if you can't do that, a wee touch of liquid smoke will add to the taste.

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