I’d heard lots of great things from my friends who’ve been lucky enough to visit Colonial Williamsburg about the Brunswick Stew, one of the featured recipes in my cookbook from that tourist attraction. On a recent Sunday, I had some chicken and extra time, and I thought I’d try it.
The story of the origin of Brunswick stew is recounted in the cookbook (shouldn’t every soup has a story?!) A hunting party in Brunswick County, Virginia left one man behind to have dinner ready at day’s end. The man, angry that he wasn’t included in the hunting party, shot the closest thing he could find-a squirrel-and threw it into the pot with a bunch of vegetables. Everyone loved the concoction! There’s no explanation of the name-they must have been hunting near Brunswick-or maybe that’s the cook’s name.
Anyway, I started the stew early in the day, as the recipe states that the taste is only enhanced through slow cooking. Also I slightly reduced the recipe-it includes enough to make a huge pot and, even with my modifications, we had enough for dinner and a bunch of leftovers-I even froze a container! It lived up to all the praise I’d heard. Here’s how you can make it:
• 4 chicken leg quarters
• 1 large onion, diced
• 2 cups fresh or one can tomatoes
• 2 cans mixed vegetables, juice included
• 1 can corn, juice included
• 3 medium potatoes, diced
• Salt and pepper to taste
Skin the chicken breasts. Place them in a large pot with spices of your choice (I used bouquet garni and bay leaves) and just cover them with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the meat comes off the bone, about 2 hours.
Pull the meat out and drain on a plate covered with paper towels. Allow to cool and pull the meat off the bones.
While the chicken is stewing, cut up vegetables. After you’ve removed the chicken from the stew pot, dump the vegetables into the pot. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender.
Add the chicken back to the pot, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for as long as possible.
I’m not kidding when I say it’s really delicious. My eldest daughter ate three bowls in one sitting, and took leftovers to school. Enjoy!