“There was an Old Man of Peru,
Who watched his wife making a stew;
But once by mistake,
in a stove she did bake,
That unfortunate Man of Peru.”
In November of 2003, I made a visit of several days to Colonial Williamsburg with my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. We learned many things while there. For instance, that it is possible to have the hiccups scared out of you. Also that laughing uncontrollably whilst sitting atop a large cannon really is not safe.
Perhaps these are not the sorts of things that one should be learning in such a history-rich place, but I feel they are some pretty important life lessons.
One evening’s occupation when we were in town was an 18th century dining experience. Among the dishes served was a tasty Brunswick stew. Before last week, that was the last time I’d had Brunswick stew.
It is a Southern thing, I believe, and the different regions guard their unique Brunswick stew recipes and traditions with utmost seriousness. I can recall my grandmother making a pot or two on occasion when I was younger, but other than that and Williamsburg my own experiences with this dish were nonexistant. Until, that is, I decided to try my hand at it the other evening.
I didn’t use an exact recipe, but pieced together this and that from a handful of recipes that I found online. It turned out pretty good, too. I’m always proud when things I make without a recipe turn out. And it’s always fun to have a dish you can play around with, adding random stuff to the pot and whatnot.Huzzah for Brunswick stew!
Brunswick Stew (My Very Own)
About 4-5 C cooked, shredded chicken
1 or 2 cans (14.5oz) chicken broth
2 cans diced tomatoes (do not drain)
3/4 C ketchup
1/2 C barbecue sauce
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 large carrot, chopped
4 medium/smallish potatoes (or 1 or 2 large), diced
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 can creamed-style corn
1 can lima/butter beans
In a large pot, combine broth and tomatoes (with their juices). Add the ketchup, barbecue sauce, worcestershire and 1 or 2 cups of water, stirring well. Stir in chicken. Cook over low heat for about an hour.
Add chopped carrots and potatoes to the stew and bring to a boil. After a minute or two, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Stir in the corn, limas, and garlic. Let the stew cook for about another half an hour or hour on low heat.