QUICK BRUNSWICK STEW
by Rebecca Lang
Ask a Southerner about the origins of Brunswick stew, and you'll start quite the historical debate. Brunswick County in Virginia and Brunswick, Georgia, both lay claim to the first pot of the famous stew. (I, of course, tend to lean toward the Georgia version.) No matter where it came from, family recipes are passed down and sometimes even the pots in which they bubble. I am now the proud keeper of my grandfather's handmade stew pot.
Brunswick stew traditionally takes hours upon hours to make. Sometimes, it even takes days. With so many ingredients usually made from scratch, it can be a true labor of love. With this super-fast version, rotisserie chicken, leftover barbecue, and canned veggies take most of the preparation time out of the stew. The recipe makes a big batch, so portion out some for later and freeze for up to 3 months. Use leftover barbecued pork or pick up some at your favorite restaurant.
Makes about 17 cups
· 1 pound lean ground beef
· 2 (15.25-ounce) cans whole kernel corn or 3 cups frozen kernel corn, thawed
· 2 (15-ounce) cans sweet peas or 3 cups frozen sweet peas, thawed
· 2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes with onions and celery
· 1 (14.75-ounce) can cream-style sweet corn
· 3 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
· 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
· 3 cups chopped barbecued pork
· 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (1/2 rotisserie chicken)
· 1/4 cup white vinegar
· 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
· 1 teaspoon hot sauce
· Zest and juice of 1 lemon
· 2 teaspoons salt (see Note below)
Brown the ground beef in a large stockpot over medium heat. Use a spatula or a spoon to break up any large clumps as it cooks. Drain the meat and return to the stockpot.
While the beef is browning, drain the cans of whole kernel corn and sweet peas. If canned stewed tomatoes are in large pieces, use a pair of kitchen scissors to chop them slightly, right in the can. Once the beef is browned and drained, add the drained corn, peas, and stewed tomatoes to the ground beef.
Add the cream-style corn, tomato sauce, green chiles, barbecued pork, chicken, vinegar, brown sugar, hot sauce, lemon zest and juice, and salt to the stockpot. Simmer the stew for 15 minutes.
NOTE: The amount of salt is going to depend on the brand of canned items Some vary more in salt amounts than others Taste for salt and add as you need it.