Brunswick Stew

Post image for Brunswick Stew

November 7, 2014 · 3 comments

in Eat

My Grandmama has always been an inspiration to me. I was named after her and have always admired her greatly. And she is one of the main reasons I decided to start this blog a couple years back.

Lucy Hagan raised eleven children in Norfolk, VA. Making countless meals to feed thirteen hungry mouths. On weekday mornings the kitchen counters were lined with slices of bread waiting to be made into sandwiches for school lunches. One sandwich for each girl. Two sandwiches each for the boys.

From ‘The Big House’ on Cambridge Street and later onto Shadowlake Drive I have fond memories of sitting in the kitchen with her as she whipped dishes to feed the masses. From her immaculate potato salad, cutting each cube of potato into the perfect uniform bite size. To her ham biscuits, Turkey Tetrazzini, curried fruit, Chicken Divan, and my personal favorite: Brunswick Stew. Grits and eggs for breakfast always. And a pitcher of Country Time lemonade always on reserve in the fridge.

She lived by The Joy of Cooking, her kitchen bible. Thanksgiving meals were created from the pages of Irma S. Rombauer. Dinner parties to host Grandaddy’s work associates came to fruition from Mrs. Rombauer. As did every Easter, Christmas and birthday meal. There were a lot of birthdays.

Grandmama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a number of years back. Her days in the kitchen are now memories we all hold onto dearly. Making them even more precious and sacred.

This Brunswick Stew recipe came from the Washington Post. There are a ton of variations on the stew, varying from region to region. In Virginia they use chicken. Georgia usually leans towards pork or beef. In North Carolina they add potatoes (like this version) to make the stew super thick. Brunswick County, Virginia and Brunswick, Georgia both claim to be the originators. The debate lives on.

Make a pot of this Southern classic. And while you’re at it make some corn bread to go with it. Because you’re worth it.

Brunswick Stew
Adapted from The Washington Post
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 ounces fat back, cut into 4 slabs
- you can get this from your butcher or any grocery store meat dept.
2 lbs white potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 ½ lbs yellow onion, chopped
¾ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ TB salt, plus more to taste
28 ounces canned, crushed tomatoes
28 ounces canned butter beans, drained ( or 3 Cups fresh/frozen)
-       you can substitute for baby lima beans if needed.
3 Cups fresh shoe peg corn
-       you can substitute for sweet corn if needed. Or 28 ounces canned.
7 TB unsalted butter
serves 10 


Combine chicken and fat back in a large stockpot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for an hour.

Discard fat back.

Pull chicken out of the pot and shred using two forks. Place chicken back in the stockpot.
Add potatoes to the shredded chicken and stock. Turn heat to medium high and bring pot to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until tender.

While your potatoes cook, get to sautéing the onions. In a large pan, set to medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add onions and sauté for about 10 minutes or until soft.

Stir in tomatoes and their juices. Add in butter beans. Once the stew starts to boil around the edges cook for another 15 minutes. Stir in corn and butter.

Cook for an hour, reducing heat to medium low.

Salt and Pepper to taste and serve it up. Or make this Corn Bread to ride along. Or just cool completely and store in the fridge or freezer. The stew will be good for 4 days in the fridge or 4 months in the freezer.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann November 8, 2014 at 12:11 am

Lucy, what a treat! Thanks for the memories and the reminder of this wonderful stew that warms both heart and soul. xoxo


Danna February 1, 2015 at 9:46 pm

I love what you put up on Lucy’s Way’s especially recipes, photographs and wonderful memories of your gigantic extended family. Your grandma Lucy has led a remarkable life. She has been the calm in the face of a storm and always (from what I can tell) spoke and acted from her heart. What a joy to know her and her wonderful namesake, YOU!


lucy February 3, 2015 at 11:41 pm

Thanks Danna!!



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