Brunswick Stew for two.

The Daring Kitchen hosts two monthly challenges, The Daring Baker’s Challenge and The Daring Cook’s Challenge.  Participating in the challenges is a great way to be exposed to new recipes and techniques.  Not being quite daring enough to try the Baker’s Challenge I signed up for the Cook’s Challenge instead.  If you’re interested in the Daring Kitchen follow this link and check them out!

Now on to the Food!

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

Wolf gave us two recipes to choose from for this Brunswick Stew.  I choose the long version which was from “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee.  Traditional Brunswick Stew is made with a combination of Rabbit, Chicken and Bacon but we were free to substitute with the meats we had on hand (one participant from Australia used Crocodile meat) so I used Bacon, Chicken Thighs and Beef.

The original recipe was large enough to serve 12.  I scaled mine down to feed 2 a generous dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day (or, if you’re my husband for “forth meal” at midnight).

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 bone in chicken thighs

½ of a small tri-tip

2 rashers of bacon, diced

2 dried arbol chilies, stemmed and deseeded

1 bay leaf

1 box of chicken stock (16oz)

2 stalks of celery, chopped

4 small Yukon gold potatoes, cubed

2 carrots chopped

½ onion diced

1 can corn

1 can butterbeans

1 can whole tomatoes (small can)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Juice of ½ a lemon

Tabasco sauce to taste

To Make:

– In a large stockpot or dutch oven, fry the bacon.  Once the bacon is crispy, remove it to a large bowl.

– Add the chilies to the bacon fat in your pot.  Toast until they just start to smell good.  Remove to the bowl with the bacon.

-Season the chicken and beef with Salt and Pepper and add to the pot.  The goal is to get a good sear on all sides of the meat, so if you need to do this in batches do so. Also if you need more fat in your pot add a bit of oil.  Remove the browned meat to the bowl with the bacon.

-Add about a ¼ of your stock to the pot to deglaze the bottom of the pot.  Bring the stock to a boil and let it reduce by half (at least). Once the stock is reduced add the bay leaf, celery, potatoes, chicken, beef, bacon, chilies, remainder of the stock and any juices that collected in the bowl you held the meat in.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Stirring every 15-30 minutes or so cook until the chicken is fall off the bone tender and the beef easily pulls apart.

-Once the meat is cooked remove it from the pot into a clean bowl and let sit until it is cool enough to shred by hand.   Remove the bay leaf and chilies and discard.

-Return the meat to the pot, add the carrots, onion, butterbeans, corn and tomatoes (make sure to break them up with your spoon as they cook).  Continue cooking until the carrots are tender.   (You know you’ve gotten it right if the stew is thick enough that your spoon stands up in it!)

-Once the carrots are tender remove the pot from the heat, add the vinegar and lemon juice and stir to combine.  Season with Salt and Pepper if needed.

All told this stew takes about 2 hours or so to cook.  But boy is it worth it.

You could easily do this in your crock pot if you brown the meat then add it, the stock, potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, beans, bay and chilies to the pot.  I’d add the corn, tomatoes, lemon and vinegar the last half hour or so of cooking.

I've always enjoyed making a mess in the kitchen. As a small child I used to sneak into the kitchen to make "rabbit stew" (this consisted of emptying my mom's spices into a large pot of water. Yeah, I was a great kid.) These days I spend my time in the kitchen cobbling together "what-ever-the-heck-you've-got casserole", pushing ethnic-inspired food on my husband and occasionally being called upon to feed the in-laws. I hope you enjoy trying these recipes in your own kitchen. Make sure you let me know what you like! If you want to find me elsewhere on the web- well good luck with that! I'm a baby blogger- this is my first foray into blog land (so let me know how I'm doing!). In real life I can often be found lurking amongst the stacks at local bookstores and libraries sipping on diet pepsi.

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