Brunswick Stew is one of our favorite hearty soups and stews. A list that included them all would be a long list! But if filtered by how many years they have been appearing on our table, this one makes the short list. In 2012, a post on KItchen Keepers mentions Brunswick Stew along with other dishes. The following quote introduced our fondness for it along with the timing.
In 1984, I traveled with friends to Colonial Williamsburg. We loved the living history lessons at every turn and enjoyed stopping by its inns and taverns for meals. The cookbook I purchased there has remained one of my favorites for nearly 30 years not only because it reminds me of travels and tastes of the past, but also for recipes that have become keepers for our family like…Chowning Tavern’s Brunswick Stew.
So if you do the math, I have been serving this stew for 33 years! It is a traditional dish, popular in the South. The origin of the dish is uncertain, but it is believed to have been invented in the early 19th century, with both Virginia and Georgia making claims for originating it. That explains its inclusion in the The Williamsburg Cookbook. A photo of this dish is used for the cover of that book, and that recipe is the starting place for the ways I prepare it. Although various meats can be used, I always use chicken, but not always the same combination of vegetables, although lima beans, okra, and some tomatoes are consistently included. In this photo, I have used a shortcut, 3 cups of frozen mixed vegetables.
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
2 Tablespoons butter
2 garlic pods, peeled and minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup okra, ends trimmed and sliced into rounds
2 cup fresh tomato, peeled and chopped (1 15 oz. can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes)
1 cup lima beans
2 cups corn (fresh corn, cut from the cob is best, but may use frozen)
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Hot sauce (serve when stew is served so each can add his own)
Melt butter in heavy pot. Add onions and garlic, then saute until onions are soft. Add chicken and all other ingredients. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for at least an hour. Traditionally, this stew is cooked for a long time over low heat and is believed to be at its best when reheated the next day!
I like to serve with a skillet of hot cornbread. Pass the hot sauce after serving!