Monday, February 18, 2013

February Fabulousness: Brunswick Stew

Katie, my Laurel Canyon neighbor for many years, grew up in Virginia and introduced our circle of friends to the infamous, comforting Brunswick Stew. I make it whenever I need cheering up. Martha Stewart has a version, but Katie's is better.
La Belle Katie

Hornsby House Cookbook -- cover

A note about Katie in the Hornsby House cookbook

Hornsby House, Yorktown, Virginia

The original Hornsby House Brunswick Stew recipe

The frontplate, in Marian's own hand

Katie says: My memories of Brunswick Stew are from Yorktown Day (celebration of the British defeat in Yorktown ... sorry).  We got to stay home from school, dress up in colonial garb (I dressed as a boy always because I liked the gun and tri-cornered hat ... who wouldn't really?) and the Yorktown Women's Club (also decked out in their colonial garb -- mom had a very nice frock) would serve a huge pot of Brunswick Stew and ham biscuits. I had a nice childhood.

The recipe comes from the Hornsby House cookbook. They were our next door neighbors. Marian Hornsby was a quintessential Southern hostess: Cocktail, cigarette, beautiful accent and always telling a great story. I used to go sit in her kitchen when I was little and cook with her cook Christine.

Marian Hornsby Bowditch's Brunswick Stew

1 3 pound chicken cut up or bony pieces of 6 chickens plus 2 breast halves
2 quarts water
1 large onion chopped
4 stalks celery chopped
1 16 ounce can tomatoes, plus one smaller can, do not drain
1 10 1/2 ounce package small lima (broad) beans, frozen
1 17 ounce can whole corn, drained
2 large potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pepper

Put first 4 ingredients in a 4 quart pan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and simmer until chicken is tender. Remove chicken to colander to drain. Let cool until comfortable to handle. Add 1 tablespoon sugar to tomatoes, cut tomatoes in pieces. Add to the stock and simmer over low heat while preparing vegetables. Add lima beans, potatoes, corn and seasonings. Remove chicken from bones, cut into bite size pieces. Add to the stew and simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Longer cooking enhances the flavor. Do not boil hard. Makes about 4 quarts.

No comments: