“Chowning’s Tavern” Inspired Brunswick Stew

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There is quite an argument still raging about the origin of this stew in the South, and it doesn’t appear to be resolved anytime soon.  Either way we know one thing, it’s delicious. Brunswick County, Virginia, and the city of Brunswick, Georgia, both claim to be the origin of the stew. A plaque on an old iron pot in Brunswick, Georgia, says the first Brunswick stew was made in it on July 2, 1898, on nearby St. Simons Island.

  • One stewing hen (6 pounds)
  • Two large onions, sliced
  • Two cups okra, cut
  • Four cups fresh tomatoes or two 16-ounce cans of tomatoeS.
  • Two cups lima beans
  • Three medium potatoes, diced
  • Four cups corn, cut from the cob
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

Cut the chicken in pieces and simmer it in 3 quarts of water for a thin stew, or 2 quarts for a thick stew, until meat can easily be removed from the bones, about 2 1/4 hours.

Add the raw vegetables to the broth and simmer, uncovered, until the beans and potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.

Add the chicken, boned and diced if desired, and the seasonings.

Note: Brunswick Stew is one of those things that benefit from long, slow cooking. It is a rule in some tidewater (Virginia) homes never to eat Brunswick Stew the same day it is made, because its flavor improves if it is left to stand overnight and is reheated the next day.

 

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