Monday, February 25, 2013

Brunswick Stew - I think......

My Hubby is from North Carolina and evidently Brunswick Stew is big there.  He has always talked about how much he loved it and wanted us to make some.  Ugh.....chicken in a stew.....I imagine bones and nasty parts of the chicken in brown liquid.  I must admit I am a bit squeamish about chicken parts and or bones of any type, but I do love to eat and otherwise I am not very picky....just don't serve bones in liquid.  Growing up in South Carolina, bones were served up pretty regularly and hearing them crunch or finding them in your meal was normal.  There were bones in our fish, in salmon stew, salmon cakes, chicken stew and all kinds of chicken - no boneless chicken.

Now, having sad all that, I ran across a recipe for Southern Brunswick Stew last week and since I am on my new cooking quest, I decided to give it a shot.  Maybe...I dunno....could I make it palatable even for me and the Girlies in our family who also have an aversion to bones????  Doubtful, but why not give it a try for the Hubs.  So this is how I accomplished it with his help and if I do say so myself it was down right tasty and eatable.  Patience though - my methods are not exactly streamlined and fast.

Here's what I put in it:
1 whole chicken - about 3 pounds or so
1 large can tomato sauce
1 large can stewed tomatoes
1 large bag frozen baby Lima beans
1 large bag frozen okra
1 large bag frozen corn
2 cups chopped baby carrots
2 stalks chopped celery
1 large onion
2 tbs of crushed garlic (I use the jarred kind)
4 or 5 chopped potatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 large container of chicken stock
3 chicken bullion cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp celery salt
1 tbs garlic salt with parsley
3 tbls corn starch
1/2 cup water
3 tbs Worstershire sauce
1 1/2 stick of healthy margarine

For this to work for me the chicken had to be cooked before composing the stew - that way I can get all of the nasty stuff out of the way.  I researched lots of recipes and found lots of different ways to do the chicken including cooking it all together but that wasn't for me.  So I roasted it the day before hoping to get some flavor in the meat.  I cooked that fat boy at about 375 degrees for a little over and hour with Can't Believe It's Not Butter all over his rump and onions stuffed you know where.  I added some baby carrots in the pan and threw him in the oven uncovered.  When he was done and cooled a bit, I covered him tightly and put him in the fridge overnight.

Some of the recipes I found used several different kinds of meats like pork and beef along with the chicken, but since I was trying to make this somewhat healthy and not so full of calories, I just put in the bird.  Well if you have never pulled the meat off of a chicken, it is a nasty job, or maybe it's just me.  Hubby came home from work just in the nick of time to have that fun.  We only used pulled meat with no fat, skin or icky stuff.  Just so you don't think I waste nasty stuff, I freeze all of the ugh and I plan to make some dog food from that. 

Ok - drag out your biggest soup pot - this makes a lot of stew!  First I put in all of the tomatoes and frozen veggies and added the stock and 4 cups of water and the bullion.  I sauteed the celery, onion, garlic and carrots in a separate pan until they were tender.  I used the same margarine for this and a little olive oil.  I peeled and chopped the potatoes - since I am not so good with my hands, I just did a rough chop and added them to the soup pot along with the shredded chicken and sauteed veggies.  I then added the seasonings and another half stick of the Can't Believe It's Not Butter and the can of tomato sauce, Worstershire and stirred well.

We brought it to a full boil and stirred and let it roll for a little over 10 minutes.  After that I kept the pot on medium heat and stirred regularly scraping the bottom.  It took a couple of hours for everything to start getting tender and for the taste to develop. At this point I mixed about 1/2 cup water with 3 heaping tablespoons of corn starch and poured into the soup and stirred well.  This thickens it up a bit and makes a nice broth.  If you want it thicker, just add more corn starch.  Then I turned down the heat to low and just let it simmer until dinner time.  The chicken will mix well and breakdown into the stew and this makes each bite awesome. 

If you wanted to do this faster, you could use chicken breast or even canned chicken and canned veggies and it would cook up pretty quick.  The next day the stew is even better

Full disclosure - I did fry up some bacon and we chopped it for the guys to sprinkle over theirs and we put out all kind of hot sauces.  Apparently everything is better with these things!  If your family all like pork, you could add the bacon in to the stew.  Just make it your own!  Oh and cornbread is a natural with this.  If you would like an easy to print version of this recipe, you can find it here: 

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