Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stew Weather in June?

As I was rearranging cookbooks, I stopped for a nostalgic trip to Williamsburg. That has been one of our favorite destinations for many years. When we lived nearby, we'd go almost every Sunday. Armed with a blanket and the Washington Post, we'd sit under a tree to read and nap. When we got hungry, we'd head over to Chowning's Tavern (back then one didn't need reservations) for a bowl of Brunswick Stew or Welsh Rarebit.

We are still having cool temperatures that are just right for a bowl of that delicious stew and I had all the ingredients on hand. Traditionally the meat in the stew was whatever the hunting party brought home. It's been awhile since Andrew has been on a hunting party (since never), so I relied on some chicken waiting in the freezer.

From The Williamsburg Cookbook

Serves 8 to 10

1 stewing hen (I used two whole breasts)
2 large onions, sliced
2 cups okra, sliced (I omitted)
4 cups fresh or 2 cans (16 oz) tomatoes
2 cups lima beans
3 medium potatoes, diced
4 cups corn cut from the cob or frozen
2 teaspoons salt (check as I found it to be too much)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Simmer chicken in three quarts water (I used chicken stock) for 30-45 minutes (depends on whether it's bone in). Remove chicken and cover. Add raw vegetables to broth and simmer, uncovered, until beans and potatoes are tender.

Add chicken, boned and diced, and the seasonings.

This is one of those dishes that improves overnight. It is a rule in some tidewater homes never to eat Brunswick Stew the same day it is made.

Whether you follow the rule or not--ENJOY!