Recipe: Chowning’s Tavern Brunswick Stew

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Brunswick stew - traditional dish, popular in the American South. made with chicken, tomatoes, corn, lima beans, green peppers and potatoes.
Brunswick stew is a traditional dish made with chicken, tomatoes, corn, lima beans, okra and potatoes. (file photo)

Chowning’s Tavern Brunswick Stew

One stewing hen (6 pounds) or two broiler-fryers (3 pounds each)

Two large onions, sliced

Two cups okra, cut (optional)

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 or two 16-ounce cans of corn

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: If canned vegetables are used, include their juices and reduce water to 2 quarts for a thin stew, 1 quart for a thick stew.

Also note: Brunswick Stew is one of those delectable things that benefit from long, slow cooking. It is a rule in some tidewater 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.

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Recipe from The Williamsburg Cookbook, courtesy the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.