Every year Mrs. Patrick and I enjoy this holiday with friends from college. We don't do family (that's Christmas), nor do our like-minded heathen friends, though they're starting to bring children into the mix. Bummer.
This year it's at our house. Among other things, I'm making Brunswick stew, a dish most commonly enjoyed in the Carolinas and Virginia. As a purist, I prefer to make it with rabbit, but it will be hard to explain to visiting children that they're eating Mr. Bunny. This recipe therefore uses chicken.
- Five pounds of chicken, 2 of which should be white (breast), 3 of which should be dark (other parts).
- 4 red potatoes, peeled and diced.
- 2 celery stalks, chopped finely.
- 1 large red onion, chopped but not finely.
- 1 package frozen corn, white (because time will be of the essence on wednesday night).
- 1 package frozen lima beans (same).
- 2 large tomatoes (diced) or 1 large can of diced tomatoes.
- 1 large can of ground or pureed tomatoes.
- 1 cup of barbecue sauce, preferably homemade but whatever.
- 3 quarts chicken stock or broth.
- 1 strip of bacon.
- Various spices detailed below
Bone (if necessary) and chop chicken finely. Add to a large soup pot with bacon (substitute vegetable oil if desired), cook over medium heat on stove until chicken is just beginning to whiten. Lower heat.
Add celery, onions, and potatoes, stirring until onions are getting oily from the bacon but not translucent.
Add tomatoes and tomato products and barbecue sauce. Stir until the mix is uniformly covered in tomatoes and tomatoey things.
Add chicken stock. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes.
Add corn and lima beans. Also add the following spices: black pepper (2 tablespoons), salt (shouldn't be needed but to taste), cayenne pepper (definitely to taste), tabasco sauce (not the same as barbecue sauce – you want a red pepper vinegar sauce) to taste, 1 teaspoon of ground dill, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, 2 bay leaves.
Simmer on low heat for two hours, or the longer the better. Chicken should be falling apart under pressure from a spoon. When done, be sure to remove the bacon and the bay leaves.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate overnight and reheat. This is one of those soups that's actually better the next day. Serves 8 and leaves leftovers. Ideally served with cornbread.