Daring cook: Brunswick stew

Another month, another daring cook challenge. This months challenge brought to us by wolf and it freaked me out a little bit. I was already on spring modus in my kitchen. The refrigerator was already stuffed with nice southern flavours like mozzarella, olives, salads and wonderful strawberries.
And then I read “stew”…..In my head it went “No not stew! Stew is for cold and dark months! Not for nice spring months.” On the other hand we are a stew household. The hubby and I just love stew and like I said in winter months we have it once or twice a week. I think it’s a perfect satisfying dish… sitting on the stove for hours, making my whole house smell delicious and at night a plate of hot, damping fragrant stew.
So of course I was going to give this American Brunswick stew a chance; What a daring cook would I be if I skipped this? But I was gonna pimp the stew a little bit into spring modus.
I was happy to see the dish called for rabbit. Rabbit is pretty easy to get over here in Belgium and it’s a very low on calorie meat that is still full of flavour. I make it very often cause its pretty cheap meat and used in our local Belgium Dish “rabbit in dark beer sauce”.
I used the long recipe that was given but added some spring veggies to the dish.
The result was very tasty although I was a bit disappointed. Every step of the preparing process I tasted a little and I was entranced by the flavours. I even yelled at the hubby a couple of times to come and taste. But then I added the tomatoes and the wonderful taste disappeared. So next time when I make this dish, I wont add any tomatoes anymore. But don’t doubt it for a second… this stew will be placed on my table once more!

INGREDIËNTS (serves 4)50 grams of bacon roughly diced
1 dried red hot chilli pepper
300 grams of rabbit
500 grams of chicken, quartered, skinned and the fat removed
sea salt
550 ml chicken broth
1 bay leave
1 large celery stalk
2 potatoes peeled and roughly diced
2 carrots peeled and roughly diced
2 medium onions peeled and chopped
150 grams of corn kernels
200 grams of field beans (Not sure this is the right translation in dutch its called tuinboon)

150 grams green peas
1 green bell pepper diced
2 turnips peeled and diced
1 zucchini diced

250 grams whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
Tabasco sauce to taste

Take the largest stockpot you have and fry the bacon in it over medium-high heat until it starts to crisp; Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan (I added a little bit of garlic oil extra) and now add the red hot chilli pepper to the pan. Toast the chilli until you smell their hot and spicy fragrance in your kitchen. Now remove the chilli to the bowl with bacon.

Season liberally both sides of the rabbit and the chicken pieces with sea salt an black pepper. Place the rabbit pieces in the pot and sear off all sides. The meat needs the brown a little bit, not cook thoroughly so remove the rabbit when it has a brown crust around it to the bowl with the bacon.
Add a little bit more garlic oil and place the chicken pieces in the pot. Also browning them at all sides. Put the chicken in the bowl with the bacon.

Now add 200 ml of chicken broth to the pan and deglaze is. Use a spoon to get all that goodness cooked onto the bottom of the pan loose. It is here that all the flavour is found!
Now bring it up to the boil and let the liquid reduce by half! Now add another 150 ml of stock, the bay leaves, the celery, the potatoes, the chicken, the rabbit, the bacon and the chilli. Poor in any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl. (Tasty remember!) Bring the pot back up to a low boil / high simmer. When it starts to boil reduce the heat a little bit and let it simmer for about 1,5 hours. Stir the stew every 15 minutes so all the flavours can blend in together.
The recipe mentions that the stock after 1,5 hours should taste like the best chicken soup ever and I must admit it is very good. A little hot from the chilli, salty from the bacon and light meaty. My conclusion absolutely jummy!

Now remove the chicken and the rabbit pieces to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be very careful cause the meat will be tender and might start to fall apart. Also remove the bay leaf, the celery and the chilli. You can discard these cause you wont be needing them anymore.

When the meat is cool enough to handle it is time to remove all the meat from the bone. Then return the meat to the pot and add the carrots and parsnips. Stir it gently allowing it to come back to a slow simmer. Let this simmer without a lit on for at least 25 minutes.

Now add the onions, the field beans, the corn, the bell pepper, the green peas, the zucchini and the tomatoes (I wont be adding the tomatoes the next time I make it though). Let this simmer again for 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly and everything is nice and tender.
Remove the stew from the heat and add in the vinegar, the lemon juice and blend it in very well. Taste and season with some extra sea salt, black pepper or some hot Tabasco sauce.

I let it rest in de fridge for a night and planned to serve it with some homemade cornbread. But I did not count on the fact that no local supermarket would provide me with cornflower… So no cornbread for us. So I turned it into a kind of cottage pie.
Just before putting it in the oven I added a teaspoon of Smoked BBQ sauce and topped it of with mashed potatoes and grated cheese. 20 minutes in the oven and the wonderful boiling stew was ready to serve!


3 responses to “Daring cook: Brunswick stew

  1. I love the idea to put the mash-taters on top and bake it. I have so much stew left over in my freezer and all the DC’s are giving me great ideas how to re use it. Cheers!

  2. Oh, Silke, I grew up on Brunswick stew. It brings back so many memories! We always had it with the meat shredded into the sauce. There are so many recipes for this, but I think my dad’s is the best (of course!).

    Thanks for posting this. I hope you enjoyed it!

  3. Turning the stew into a cottage pie, that’s a nice idea! Sounds yummy and comforting!

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