A Southern Side Dish for Dinner

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January 29, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

While in Albany, we may have eaten our weight in meat at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Although it was delicious, I am trying to detox now that I’m back in London. That said, I haven’t kicked my BBQ craving.

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Often times, at southern BBQ joints, Brunswick stew is served as a side option. It is typically in the vein of pulled pork, with shredded meat that is tomato saucier with a bit more veg. Historically it is made with squirrel meat or sometimes rabbit, but don’t worry I haven’t been hunting in my backyard. Instead I use boneless, skinless, chicken thighs to give my stew a hearty, healthy, meaty twist.

The first time I made this recipe, Chris and I had decided to go camping on the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the fall foliage. I use the term camping lightly. In preparation, we went up to the check out at REI with a few flashlights, a camping coffee press set with mugs, and an adapter for our air mattress pump. “Oh you guys are car campers,” they said while literally rolling their eyes at us. Whatever. We were excited to spend the day hiking and cook dinner over a campfire.

I came across this recipe for Brunswick stew in Cooking Light Magazine and thought it was the perfect camping dish, warm and spicy on a cold night after a long hike. And the great part was I could prep everything in advance: freeze the bite-sized chicken and along with the corn and lima beans, they would thaw slowly and keep perfectly in the cooler until dinner.

So we set off, waking up at 6am to get our campsite pick of the litter. We got to the Parkway and drove up to the first campsite- closed… Second campsite- closed… Uh oh… At this point we stopped by the ranger station to find out that camping season ended October 31st. Today was November 1st. Perfect.

But there was good news… the state park campsites were still open and there was one further south. After driving another hour, more bad news came. We were welcome to camp there, but there was a ban on open fires due to the dry leaves (the very ones we had traveled to see). So rather than sit in the dark in below-freezing weather all night, we had a picnic lunch by the lake, went for a short hike, and drove 4 hours back home. But committed to a camp-like night, we didn’t check our email or turn on the TV. Instead, by candle light, we played board game, drank wine, and ate this awesome stew. (Okay, okay, my stove at the time was an electric. So sue me.)

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The stew starts with a flavorful base of onions, celery, red pepper, and garlic.

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The toasted flour will brown the chicken and thicken the stew.

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Adding white wine, tomato paste, and hot sauce will enhance the depth of flavor.

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Mix in the corn and lima beans and simmer the stew for at least 15 minutes. Classic London kitchen dilemma, I couldn’t find frozen lima beans, so I had to use large butter beans. Definitely go with the baby lima beans if you can get your hands on them, they will pop with a bit of sweet buttery goodness.

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Serve the stew with a few extra dashes of hot sauce. Leave the bottle out for those who want even more of a kick.

Brunswick Stew

*adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Serves 6

2 tsp. vegetable oil

1 small onion, diced

½ cup celery, diced

1 red pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs

2Tbs. flour

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1-2 tsp. hot sauce, plus more to serve

½ cup white wine

12 oz. frozen corn

12 oz. frozen lima beans

4 cups chicken broth

Salt and Pepper, to taste

 

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat with the vegetable oil. Add the onions, celery, red pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.  Add I tablespoon of flour and cook for 1 more minute.

While the vegetables sauté, trim any excess fat off the chicken and cut into bite-size pieces. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour.

Add the chicken to the pan and brown for 5 minutes. Add the thyme, tomato paste, and hot sauce, then deglaze the pan with the white wine.

Add the corn and lima beans. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Serve with more hot sauce.

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