Classic Virginia Brunswick Stew

By • October 19, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: If you have ever lived in south or central Virginia, it is likely you have heard of Brunswick stew. Until I moved to Richmond and started to date my husband, I had no knowledge of the thick tomato, potato, butter bean concoction. But once I did hear of it, I quickly realized that it is an institution in those parts (there are annual Brunswick Stew Festivals all over the state). A classic, beloved dish that is so satisfying it can cure any winter blues. This recipe is inspired by the taste of "Mrs. Fearnow’s Delicious Brunswick Stew with Chicken” (in the yellow can) and adapted from the Brunswick Stewmaster’s Association of Brunswick County, Virginiaonetinyspark

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Serves 6-8

  • 1.5 pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs (thighs are traditionally used)
  • 1.5 ounces fatback, cut into 4 long slabs
  • 4 cups cups of low sodium chicken stock (water is traditionally used)
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 3/4 - 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 14 ounces canned, crushed, no-salt-added tomatoes plus their juices
  • 14 ounces canned, drained butter beans (use fresh if in season)
  • 14 ounces canned, drained white shoe peg corn, drained (use fresh if in season)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Smoked paprika to taste
  1. Place the chicken and fatback in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Cover with the chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Discard the fatback, and help the chicken shred (it will happen easily) in the pot with two forks.
  2. Next, add in the potatoes, onions, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt and sugar. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are soft – roughly 30 minutes or so.
  3. After, stir in the tomatoes, their juices and the butter beans. Cook for another 15-20 minutes and then stir in the corn and butter pieces. Let the stew cook on low, uncovered, for an hour longer so it becomes nice and thick.
  4. Serve the stew hot and if you can’t eat it all, store it in the freezer (after it cools) for another day!

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