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Daring Cooks' challenge April: Brunswick stew

>> Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brunswick stew 1

This month's challenge is a United States southeastern classic: Brunswick stew. I must admit I had never heard of it before. But that's not surprising, is it? Have you heard of the Spanish cocido? I thought so. This hearty stew is really not difficult to make... But the essential thing is that it should be so thick that a wooden spoon should be able to stand up in the middle. This recipe yields 12 servings, but somehow I was not aware of it and I didn't halve it... We better like it.

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.

Brunswick stew, slightly adapted

  • 1/4 lb / 113.88 grams / 4 oz slab bacon, rough diced
  • 2 Serrano, Thai or other dried red chiles, stems trimmed, sliced, seeded, flattened (I used 2 Spanish guindillas, medium hot)
  • 1lb / 455.52 grams / 16oz rabbit, quartered, skinned
  • 1 4-5lb / 1822.08- 2277.6 grams / 64-80oz chicken, quartered, skinned, and most of the fat removed (I used 1500 g only)
  • 1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / ½ oz sea salt for seasoning, plus extra to taste
  • 2-3 quarts / 8-12 cups / 64.607-96.9oz Sunday Chicken Broth (see below)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large celery stalks (I skipped them... sorry, I hate them)
  • 2lbs / 911.04 grams / 32oz potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes, peeled, rough diced
  • 1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz carrots (about 5 small carrots), chopped (I used 2 large)
  • 3 ½ / 804.72 grams / 28.266oz cups onion (about 4 medium onions) chopped (just used 2 onions)
  • 2 cups / 459.84 grams / 16.152oz fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 ears) ( I halved it...)
  • 3 cups / 689.76 grams / 24.228oz butterbeans, preferably fresh (1 ¼ lbs) or defrosted frozen (I added slightly less here)
  • 1 35oz can / 996.45 grams / 4 cups whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
  • ¼ cup / 57.48 grams / 2.019 oz red wine vinegar (I used white vinegar, I find red vinegar too strong)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (I didn't dare to add the lemon juice, I thought it would be too acidic for me)
  • Tabasco sauce to taste (I didn't add any)
Chicken broth:
To make the chicken broth, I simply boiled 2 chicken carcasses along with a piece of hen, plus the carrots and the onions that the stew recipe calls for. Boil everything for 45 minutes, while skimming the foam. You'll get a beautiful fatty and yellow stock. It couldn't be easier.
  1. In the largest stockpot you have (I used my French Le Creuset oven), fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan, and with the pan on the burner, add in the chiles. Toast the chiles until they just start to smell good, or make your nose tingle, about a minute tops. Remove to bowl with the bacon.
  2. Season liberally both sides of the rabbit and chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper. Place the rabbit pieces in the pot and sear off all sides possible. You just want to brown them, not cook them completely. Remove to bowl with bacon and chiles, add more bacon fat if needed, or olive oil, or other oil of your choice, then add in chicken pieces, again, browning all sides nicely. Remember not to crowd your pieces, especially if you have a narrow bottomed pot. Put the chicken in the bowl with the bacon, chiles and rabbit. Set it aside.
  3. Add 2 cups of your chicken broth or stock, if you prefer, to the pan and basically deglaze the4 pan, making sure to get all the goodness cooked onto the bottom. The stock will become a nice rich dark color and start smelling good. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil away until reduced by at least half. Add your remaining stock, the bay leaves, celery, potatoes, chicken, rabbit, bacon, chiles and any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl they were resting in. Bring the pot back up to a low boil/high simmer, over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, remember to stir every 15 minutes, give or take, to thoroughly meld the flavors. Simmer, on low, for approximately 1 ½ hours. Supposedly, the stock may become a yellow tinge with pieces of chicken or rabbit floating up, the celery will be very limp, as will the chiles. Taste the stock, according to the recipe, it “should taste like the best chicken soup you’ve ever had”.
  4. With a pair of tongs, remove the chicken and rabbit pieces to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be careful, as by this time, the meats will be very tender and may start falling apart. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon and discard.
  5. After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, carefully remove all the meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the meat to the pot, throwing away the bones. Add in your carrots, and stir gently, allowing it to come back to a slow simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes, or until the carrots have started to soften (I skipped this stage, as I already had boiled my carrots).
  6. Add in your onion, butterbeans, corn and tomatoes (and my carrots). As you add the tomatoes, crush them up, be careful not to pull a me, and squirt juice straight up into the air, requiring cleaning of the entire stove. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly, and onions, corn and butterbeans are tender. Remove from heat and add in vinegar, lemon juice, stir to blend in well. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired (I thought it didn't need it).
  7. You can either serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours, which makes the flavors meld more and makes the overall stew even better. Serve hot, either on its own, or with a side of corn bread, over steamed white rice, with any braised greens as a side.

Brunswick stew 2

My potatos were not starchy enough, so the broth wasn't really thick. In fact you can see the potato dice have kept their shape pretty well through almost 2 hours of boiling. Indeed the whole thing should have been a bit more "amalgamated", but still it was truly stomach-warming.

22 comentarios:

Audax April 14, 2010 at 10:24 AM  

Your photos are excellent and glad to hear that you liked it so much. I hope you do enjoy it since you make it so much. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Homemade Heaven April 14, 2010 at 11:10 AM  

This looks wonderful and I like the potatoes still there. I have a problem getting rabbit, but will give this a try (not 12 servings though).

Mardi Michels April 14, 2010 at 11:28 AM  

Yours looks lovely - I made this but my heart wasn't really into it - it's too warm here to be eating stew!!!

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ April 14, 2010 at 11:52 AM  

Absolutely beautiful pics and the stew did turn absolutely delicious too...way way delicious.....

Winnie April 14, 2010 at 1:55 PM  

Very beautiful stew! I halved the recipe but it still made WAY too much...we did enjoy it, though...lots of flavor!

Belinda @zomppa April 14, 2010 at 1:55 PM  

I like how you use the corn here - looks yummy! Never had Brunswick with rabbit before.

Jo April 14, 2010 at 1:56 PM  

Great job on your challenge and your stew looks good. Love your photos.

Wic April 14, 2010 at 2:15 PM  

it looks delicious and I am sure it will be eaten.
Great job on this months challenge.

Angelica April 14, 2010 at 3:19 PM  

Your stew looks very rich and thick, yummy! I also like your presentation with the piled meat and corn kernels, wonderful job!

Anna April 14, 2010 at 3:51 PM  

Lovely looking stew. Thick, nice and wholesome :)
Cheers! Anula.

Sarah April 14, 2010 at 4:35 PM  

Wonderful pictures. I, too, wondered about adding the vinegar and lemon juice. The stew tasted pretty good without it. But I put them in and tasted. I almost cried because I thought I had ruined it. After sitting overnight (I served it the next day) it was wonderful. No hint of acid.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) April 14, 2010 at 5:41 PM  

I haven't seen rabbit for a while, but I am sure I could substitute or just use the chicken. This siunds delicious and right up there with my other comfort foods.

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen April 14, 2010 at 7:22 PM  

Looks really rich and tasty - nicely done! Our potatoes were still quite firm too - I don't think it's necessarily a drawback, it's nice to have some contrasting texture in there.

Wolf April 14, 2010 at 10:52 PM  

Thgick or not, yours looks wonderful!

Love the bowl too! }:P Great job!

Tania April 15, 2010 at 12:00 AM  

Your recipe are always perfect!

Unknown April 15, 2010 at 12:36 AM  

Your photos looks beautiful! My potatoes came out fairly firm too, but I think that the more you simmer the stew the thicker and saucy the liquid becomes.

shelley c. April 15, 2010 at 3:55 AM  

That looks beautiful! I actually like the chunks of potato in there, so I hope that didn't disappoint you too much. I have a ton of leftovers, too, an am looking forward to having this again! Great job on the challenge.

penny aka jeroxie April 15, 2010 at 3:23 PM  

Lovely bowl of soup! I wish mine came out as nice as yours. Still very tasty though.

Tasty Trix April 15, 2010 at 5:17 PM  

I remember seeing cans of Brunswick stew in the supermarket when I was a kid - can you imagine? I wonder would a wooden spoon stand up in that? lol. This looks beautiful though. And I do believe I've heard of cocido ... but very likely thanks to you!!!!

Cooking Rookie April 15, 2010 at 7:09 PM  

Your stew looks wonderful (all your photos look wonderful :-) ). Thanks for stopping by my blog - I really enjoy yours, it's almost like a work of art :-).

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog April 15, 2010 at 11:04 PM  

With this stormy and cold day here this stew is a wonderful dish for my dinner, looks fabulous!



Baked Alaska April 17, 2010 at 6:45 AM  

I think your stew looks great!


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