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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Eddie Boo's Brunswick Stew

I love to make edible holiday gifts. While most of us don't need another picture frame, candle or ornament, we can all use something yummy to eat! Giving someone a night off from cooking is my idea of a real present.

Obviously you want to make something that can easily be prepared in bulk. While I have in the past turned my kitchen into a lasagna factory, this year I decided to try something new: Brunswick Stew. It's tasty on a cold winter night, and all you really need is some cornbread to make it into a complete dinner.

My friend Suzanne's dad, Ed, is known to friends as Eddie Boo. His recipe is printed in Flavors of Home: Recipes from the West Gadsden Historical Society. There were a few more recipes I considered, but (a) I know Mr. Ed better, so I want to make his, and (b) the versions by Patsy Pitts and Mrs. Effie Clark both use measurements that confused me. What is1 1/2 quarts of potatoes or 1 quart of tomatoes? Fresh tomatoes or canned? I was searching for a pencil to figure out how many ounces would be in three pounds of cooked meat.

Plus Mr. Ed's recipe helpfully said it makes about four gallons, so I knew I'd get a lot for my trouble. Here's the recipe:

Brunswick Stew
From the back yard of Ed Spooner

6 cups chicken, boiled, boned and shredded
6 cups smoked pork (Boston butt), smoked and shredded
2 cups roast beef or venison, boiled, boned and shredded
3 14 oz. cans minced tomatoes
3 14 oz. cans whole kernel corn
2 15 oz. cans mixed vegetables
2 11 oz. cans Mexi or Fiesta corn
2 cups potatoes, peeled, medium diced and boiled
1 large onion, medium diced
1 32 oz. bottle ketchup
1 8 oz. bottle Heinz 57 sauce
Hot sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in large pot and simmer over low heat for 4 to 5 hours. Makes about 4 gallons.

My first problem was getting a big enough pot, but I finally ended up borrowing one from the church kitchen.
I started yesterday, but that really just included shopping for ingredients and containers. This seemed like a project made for Costco, so that's where I got the meat. I purchased a bulk package of 15 chicken thighs (dark meat always tastes better in recipes like this); two packages of smoked, shredded barbecue (2 pounds each); and a package of pot roast (doesn't say how much...thumbs down to you, Morton's of Omaha). The pot roast was the closest I could get to the prescribed cooked roast beef or venison. I actually had to scrape off the gravy on the pot roast, but I think it will be fine.

Yesterday I boiled the chicken thighs and refrigerated them overnight. Today I came home from church (with the pot!) and got started.

I boiled the potatoes separately while I was chopping up the meat and throwing everything else in the big pot.

As my friend Anne and I learned when we made cassoulet a few years ago, there is really nothing yummy about a bunch of pictures of meat, but I cannot resist the urge to document this. So, here's the chicken...
Turned out I only needed one package (two pounds) of pork, so I froze the other package for later. Hmm, maybe Miss Effie is on to something with those measurements in pounds?
And the beef...the package was also more than the two cups I needed, so I'm saving the extra to put into vegetable beef soup later this week.
Note that I chopped these, and the recipe said they should be shredded, but I was pretty sure 4-5 hours of cooking would turn everything to shreds anyway.

Here's the pot o' meat...
And here are the rest of the ingredients. What's not to like about a recipe that calls for a whole bottle of Heinz 57? You should really get yourself some of that and blast back to the '80s. (Note: follow the ingredient list, not the photo...long story. Someone has trouble doing math at the grocery store.)
Then it all went into the pot...
And this is what it looked  like when I first started.
I stirred it religiously for hours and made sure to scrape the bottom of the pot--all I needed was for this big ol' pot to scorch! I also went low and slow on the heat for that reason. I figured more time cooking was better than having to start all over.

Here's what it looked like when it cooked down. It tasted salty enough to me that I figured everyone could just add their own pepper and hot sauce.
I bottled it in quart sized glass jars (thank you, Food Lion -- apparently the "canning crowd" does not shop at Costco) and tied ribbon around the jar. It was so easy to make and such a hit that I think I may make some more!


Mandy said...

I wonder if the ladies' recipes called for items they'd already put up themselves? When I put up peppers over the summer, I use pint- and quart-sized jars. Also, how did you ensure that the stew wouldn't spoil in the jars? Did you can them with a canner or just put in the boiling stew and invert the cans to heat the seal?

Lyns said...

Oh, I did not actually "can" it, Mandy -- I just put it in jars for presentation. I need to make sure none of the recipients think they can stick it on the shelf and eat it in a few weeks!

Whitney said...

If you ever want to "step it up a notch" and officiall can it, let me know. I'm bound to have a cookbook with some instructions when it comes to meat.

Whitney said...

And no...Food Lion is about the only place with jars. I think even Wal-mart gives up on them in the winter. Target never has anything other than cute jelly jars and you can just about forget it when it comes to the Teeter although I think they might start due to the renaissance of canning