Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Family Recipe: Brunswick Stew

This time every year, it's a common practice in the South to make Brunswick Stew. From weekend-long church fundraisers to giant iron pots of back-yard, home-cooked stew, it's a Southern staple that signals the advent of fall. 

I vividly remember the time when my best friend's family was cooking a batch over an outdoor fire, and their pet goat jumped into the pot and singed his poor little legs! And no, we didn't dump the whole pot out. Everyone figured that slow-cooking and high heat killed any germs that could have gotten in. (But that has since been referred to as the year of goat stew.)

A few weeks ago, my mom picked up her annual few quarts of stew for eating and freezing from one of the local churches. I happened to be home visiting as they were about to have lunch and it was a reminder of a tradition long-forgotten. 

For those too far from the Southern states to find their own church fundraiser to attend, I thought I'd share a family recipe for Brunswick Stew, in case you want to try to make your own. Here is the recipe exactly as it appears in my Granny's notebook of recipes. You'll have to do a little interpreting in places, as there are details left to tradition and never jotted down on paper.

Brunswick Stew

3 lb. hen
2 lb. chicken breast
1 lb. pork
2 lrg. onions
6 med. potatoes
2 lrg. cans tomato
2 cans corn
2 cans baby lima beans
Salt & pepper, to taste
½ lb. butter

Cook meat until tender. Cool and reserve broth. Cook onions, potatoes, and tomatoes on low; add meat and broth. Add corn, beans, salt & pepper, and butter, and cook a while more.

Photo: The house where my mom spent the earliest part of her childhood, living close to her other relatives on "Mill Hill" in Mt. Pleasant, NC.

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