So, the 4th of July has come and gone, but what it’s left behind is a lingering sense of patriotism and a lazy feeling that is compelling me to stay out of the kitchen. Whenever that happens I turn to leftovers and my old friend, the crock pot. I had some roasted chicken in the fridge, and not a lot else but it got me thinking about what I could make that would feel summery, but not require me to do a lot of work. Then I remembered Brunswick stew.
One of the greatest things that I’ve noticed in the past decade or so is a growing appreciation for the culinary treasures found regionally throughout the US. Every state, region and town has its own traditions and local customs that have been passed down, and to explore them is the only way to truly understand and appreciate our nation for the complex, diverse and rich culture that it is. Food is the predominant way in which we tend to universally celebrate, so it’s always a good place to start when exploring someplace new.
For instance, where I grew up in Kentucky a common dish that you’ll hear about is burgoo, or what is lovingly referred to as “roadkill stew.” Foodies and restauranteurs try time after time to gussy burgoo up a bit to make it trendy, using lamb or free-range chickens, but it’s just not all that exciting. It was developed out of necessity to sustain people on what they could find to eat, and it is no culinary masterpiece.
Now, go a bit further south to where my parents now reside in the Golden Isles of Georgia, and people took the same concept of burgoo and masterfully added barbeque sauce to the mix. Viola! Brunswick stew was born and it is delicious!
For a traditional Brunswick stew, you should definitely smoke your own pork and chicken and add homemade barbeque sauce, but it’s just too hot for me to even think about tending a grill all day. So, I have enlisted the help of my grocery store and using some of the pre-made pulled pork that you find in the butcher aisle. I don’t normally like that stuff for sandwiches (the sauce is too overpowering), but for the sake of time, I think it will do the trick. And, if I were going to serve this at a party, I would definitely need to make some hush puppies to go with it.
Quick Brunswick Stew
- 1 carton pre-made bbq pulled pork (I used the Sweet Baby Ray’s brand)
- About 3 cups cooked chicken, cut up
- 2 14.5 ounce cans sliced, stewed tomatoes (with juices)
- 1 32 ounce carton of good quality chicken stock
- 1/2 bag of frozen Lima beans
- 1/2 bag frozen corn kernels
- 1/4 cup barbeque sauce
- Dump everything into a crock pot, and cook on high for 4 hours.