Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Daring Cooks' Brunswick Stew, the Long Way

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.

I'm so glad i have the Daring Kitchen to keep me on track with blog updates because Ive been a bit lazy after returning from my Easter break in Amsterdam. I guess I've growntoo accustomed eating out and getting served that this sudden transition back to the mediocre student life has stricken me a little. But don't worry, i'm pretty sure i'll get back on my feet when my tummy realizes that the pampering is over and food will not appear by itself until i pay a visit to the kitchen.

This Brunswick Stew challenge couldn't have been more perfect for someone struggling to recover from the holidays. I halved the original recipe and still ended up with a HUGE pot of stew that was enough to feed JLo and I for three days. Having food within reach and not having to go through the entire shopping-preparing-cooking-serving process was a huge relief! This probably sounds bad coming from someone with a food blog but hey, everyone needs a break now and then-- don't judge me!

I made the long version of Brunswick stew that took around 3 - 4 hours total to complete. I used chicken and pork for the protein and replaced butter beans with white ones (those were the only changes i made). The recipe was fairly easy but the most challenging part, for me, was probably shredding the meat. I shredded mine super thin and that probably took around 20 minutes to complete. This was my first time having Brunswick stew and i thought it tasted a lot like the usual chicken soup... but the vinegar and lemon juice added at the end gave it a nice tang that it lacked. I can only imagine how much better it would've been if i had some tobasco at home!

In the words of Wolf, "Brunswick stew is not done properly “until the paddle stands up in the middle.”" Considering how sturdy my ladle looks standing in the stew, this challenge was a great success! Thanks, Wolf, for sharing this recipe with us!

Brunswick Stew, the Long Way
Serves about 12
  • 110 grams bacon, roughly diced (1/4lb/4oz)
  • 2 Serrano, Thai or other dried red chiles, trimmed, sliced, seeded, flattened
  • 450 grams rabbit, quartered, skinned (1 lb/ 16oz)
  • 1.5 - 2 kilograms chicken, quartered, skinned, and most of the fat removed
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt for seasoning, plus extra to taste
  • 8-12 cups Sunday Chicken Broth (recipe below)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large celery stalks
  • 900 grams Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes, peeled, rough diced (2 lbs)
  • 1 ½ cups carrots, chopped
  • 3 ½ cups onion, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 ears)
  • 3 cups butterbeans, preferably fresh (1 ¼ lbs) or defrosted frozen
  • 1 35oz can / 996.45 grams / 4 cups whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
    1. In the largest stockpot you have, preferably a 10-12 qt or even a Dutch Oven if you’re lucky enough to have one, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp [picture 1]. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.
    2. 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 [picture 2]. Remove to bowl with the bacon.
    3. Season liberally both sides of the rabbit and chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper.
    4. 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 [picture 3]. 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.
    5. Add 2 cups of your chicken broth or stock, if you prefer, to the pan and basically deglaze the 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.
    6. 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 [picture 4].
    7. 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”.
    8. 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.
    9. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon and discard.
    10. After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, carefully remove all the meat from the bones, shredding it as you go [picture 5].
    11. 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 [picture 6].
    12. Add in your onion, butterbeans, corn and tomatoes [picture 7]. 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.
    13. 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 [picture 8].
    14. 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.
    Cornbread Bake over Brunswick Stew
    Brunswick Stew


                        1. Great job! Your spoon definitely met the test. Welcome back to cooking..!

                        2. I love your idea of the step by step shots. I might "steal" that idea if you don't mind! I can empathize w/ the shredding of the meat, eventhough i didn't do much w/ mine. The cornbread and stew combination sounds perfect!

                        3. Great result! Looks delicious so nice and thick :)

                          Cheers! Anula.

                        4. Your stew looks perfect. I halved the recipe too and it was still so much food! I didn't shred the meat- I prefer it chunky! I bet it was delicious with the cornbread.

                        5. I like the idea how you arranged the step-by-step pictures. The stew and the cornbread look awesome!

                        6. Nice mosaic you have there, I like it. Your stew looks very, very nice and the cornbread looks fantastic-the combination must have been heavenly!

                        7. hey, there is nothing wrong with being happy about making a big batch of food to last for days! life's too crazy to cook every day. that's why i love big stews and soups like this.

                        8. Your stew looks delicious! The cornbread bake is such a great idea (I love cornbread). I also love you directions they are very easy to follow. Great job!

                        9. Wow yummy yummy looking stew! I shouldn't have finished all of mine so I can try your cornbread bake, it looks so good!

                        10. Ooh, great idea on the cornbread bake! Yum!

                          I totally forgot to shred my meat; I wish now I'd waited a little longer to do mine until after I'd seen some more pictures. ;)

                        11. this is the second posts today, so this must be delicious

                        12. I am now wishing I had done rabbit and pork. Yours looks delicious.

                        13. Mmmm, cornbread... great match! Your stew looks awesome! Oh, and I am totally on board with having convenient food on hand: I froze my leftovers, for a rainy day!

                        14. Angelica. Feed me :oD

                          Reading your blog makes me feel like I need to step into the kitchen.. but as Lawrence has me on a super boring diet, yeah.. Anyways! Seeing your beautiful pictures makes me feel like I ate some of it, so that's better than nothing!!

                        15. My heart stopped when i saw RABBIT but then I re-read your post to double check, phew you used chicken and pork.

                          I'm not too sure the stew would be kinda thing but the cornbread bake over the stew is DEFINITELY a great look for it! :) Super happy you're back, but I totally understand how lazy one can get to cook, especially when there are dishes, laundry, smelly deal with. :)

                        16. Your stew looks so delicious. I like the cornbread cake!

                        17. WOW..not only did your stew turn out lovely, but that cornbread topping is just phenomenal, Ang! Once again..a 'Daring' challenge totally rocked :)

                        18. Cornbread and Brunswick stew! All I can say is delicious! Great job on the challenge!

                        19. It is good to be back from holiday and still get to enjoy your Brunswick Stew! Look totally delicious in the pot :-)

                          Sawadee from Bangkok,

                        20. Cornbread and stew, hmm that must have been really tasty!