Friday, October 12, 2012

Brunswick Stew

This is a good recipe for the fall. It also can be set on the stove to simmer while the cook goes about her business elsewhere. The ingredients are not exotic or extremely expensive, although you do have to make sure you have them.
Its origins are obscure. It might come from Brunswick County, Virginia or from Brunswick, Georgia. The explanation I like best is was provided by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the author of the famous young people's book, The Yearling, who said it may have come from Braunschweig, Germany and was said to have been a favorite of Queen Victoria. So you can tell  your guests you are feeding them the food of royalty. There are several different recipes for Brunswick stew, some containing squirrel, rabbit, etc. This one is just chicken, ma'am.
 Our freezer is like the black hole of Calcutta, so I failed to look carefully enough for frozen corn. I had to leave it out. The recipe may be gluten-free, but I'm not sure about Worcestershire sauce, so make sure. It was enjoyed at the party and even provided leftovers.
It is kind of a "few hours before" recipe, because the chicken has to be cooked. Bob went to Whole Foods on Saturday morning and bought a free range chicken to get a jump on things. When I came back from riding, the chicken had already finished simmering on the stove.
We were actually able to finish cooking, take showers, (a good thing in my case. No one wants to sit down to dinner wondering if there is a horse lurking in the kitchen.), and sit down for a minute before the guests got there.
This dish may seem bland to today's taste buds. The salt and pepper goes into the water to cook the chicken, and since you are using the broth in the stew, it may be salty enough. Taste it before you bring it to the table.

Brunswick Stew

1 three pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
8 cups fresh or canned chicken broth (or use half chicken broth and half water)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup diced uncooked bacon
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups peeled ripe tomatoes or one one pound-three-ounce can tomatoes, drained
2 cups peeled, diced raw potatoes
2 cups fresh baby lima beans or one ten-ounce package frozen (You may have to do what I did and resort to canned limas, since the Safeway in Potomac didn't seem to have frozen limas.)
2 cups corn kernels, cut from the cob (about eight ears) (or one ten ounce package frozen corn
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or to taste
2 tablespoons butter (I used margarine because Pat can't eat dairy products.)

1. Place the chicken in a kettle and add the broth. Bring to a boil and add salt and pepper. Simmer until chicken is tender, about one hour, skimming surface frequently to remove fat and foam. Remove chicken from kettle, but let stock continue to boil to reduce slightly.
2. When chicken pieces are cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Discard bones and skin.
3. Return meat to kettle and add the bacon, onions, tomatoes, potatoes and lima beans. Simmer one hour, skimming surface as necessary to remove all fat. Stir frequently so stew does not stick.
Add to corn and cook ten minutes longer. When done, stew should be a thickened mass. Stir in the Worcestershire and butter. Serve piping hot.  Makes six to eight servings.

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