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Brunswick Stew Recipes

Updated on October 7, 2014
chezchazz profile image

Chazz is an Interior Decorator/Consultant/Retailer, amateur photographer, cook, gardener, handyman, currently restoring an 1880 Victorian.

© 2012-15 CJS. All Rights Reserved.
© 2012-15 CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Recipes for Brunswick Stew: A Southern American Tradition

Brunswick Stew is a (usually) chicken and (always) vegetable dish that is Gluten Free, easy to make, freezes well, and can be made vegetarian style. (A Vegan/Vegetarian Brunswick Stew Recipe is also included on this page.)

I was first introduced to Brunswick Stew during a visit to Chowning's Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. I liked it so much I purchased The Williamsburg Cookbook and started to make it myself.

Over the years, the recipe evolved to the versions featured on this page.

This Recipe Makes A Lot: Be Sure You Have a Large Enough Pot!

I always make a large pot of Brunswick Stew and freeze most of it in meal size portions to be enjoyed in the following weeks.

The Brunswick Stew recipes here are not only delicious and gluten-free, but also healthy and hearty. I hope you try the Brunswick Stew Recipes here and enjoy it as much as we do.

A Bowl of Hot Brunswick Stew © CJS 2012-15. All Rights Reserved.
A Bowl of Hot Brunswick Stew © CJS 2012-15. All Rights Reserved.

Originally made with squirrel or rabbit, Brunswick Stew is (thankfully) usually a chicken based dish today, although some folks make it with beef or pork.

I prefer to make this with whole chickens as that yields a more flavorful broth, but it can be made with boneless chicken thighs or breasts if that is what you have on hand. That will also shorten the time it takes to make the stew.

If you do decide to use boneless chicken breasts or thighs, I suggest either simmering them with the onions and perhaps a cup of chopped celery to improve the broth base or using pre-made chicken broth as part of the liquid.


Isn't this a Beauty!

Toulouse Collection, Tureen with Ladle
Toulouse Collection, Tureen with Ladle

Looks like it came straight from the French countryside. Gorgeous bird perces on top of lid and the handles mimic twigs.

 

Cook Time

Prep Time: Varies

Total Time:

Serves: Makes about 10 servings

Basic Brunswick Stew

This is the basic recipe which I usually change a bit depending on what is in season or in my pantry or freezer. However, my Brunswick Stew always includes core ingredients of onions, tomatoes, okra, and corn.

I use a minimum 8 qt. stockpot to make this recipe. And stir the stew with a large wooden spoon. I do not use aluminum pots or those with non-stick coatings due to safety and health concerns raised about those products.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole chickens or 1 large chicken (about 6 lbs total)
  • 2 large onions sliced (I prefer Vidalia onions since this is a Southern dish)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cut okra
  • 4 cups fresh or 2 lg cans cut or chopped tomatoes in puree
  • 1 or 2 cans baby corn
  • 1 to 2 cups frozen (or canned) lima or butter beans
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • A generous splash of wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional Ingredients (See separate list)

Brunswick Stew Goes Best With Cornbread so Be Sure to Have Ingredients or A Mix on Hand

Instructions

  1. DAY BEFORE: Clean and quarter or cut up chicken and simmer it in 2 quarts of water for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until meat can easily be removed from bones. (Remove giblets and reserve for another time.)
  2. Cool, cover pot, and refrigerate pot overnight. (The fat will form a waxy white layer on the top.)
  3. NEXT DAY: Remove the layer of fat and discard.
  4. Discard skin and remove chicken from bones. Cut into chunky or bite sized pieces. Put meat into a large bowl.
  5. Strain broth into clean pot and bring to a boil.
  6. Add fresh vegetables to broth and simmer until tender, stirring occasionally. (If using canned tomatoes instead of fresh, add those also. Include puree, sauce or juice from can or jar also. If using canned whole tomatoes, cut into eighths before adding to pot.) Add baking soda after you add the tomatoes and stir well.
  7. Add frozen vegetables, chicken and seasonings. Cook until frozen veggies are tender but still crisp.
  8. Add canned vegetables including liquid. Heat through.
  9. Refrigerate overnight if you can resist the wonderful aroma. It does taste better the next day.
  10. Serve with corn bread, salad if desired, and - if available, a glass of Scuppernong wine.
5 stars from 1 rating of Chazz's Basic Brunswick Stew Recipe

Cast Iron Bakeware Makes the Best Cornbread and Muffins

Why Use Baking Soda?

Baking Soda neutralizes the tomato

acid without having to add sugar

as called for in most recipes - a

"trick" I learned from my Nana

Cook Time

Prep Time: 20 minutes or less

Total Time: About 1.5 hours

Serves: Makes 6 to 8 servings

The Short-Cut Version of Brunswick Stew

This recipe is a bit different as it includes a few extra steps and ingredients to maximize flavor that are not necessary in the long version since flavors in the latter have more time to develop, but it is easier and faster than the traditional recipe.

If you want an even faster version, scroll down and take a look at the Vegetarian Brunswick Stew recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 box or lg can chicken broth
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can beans
  • 2 med or 1 lg chopped onion
  • 1 box or bag frozen cut okra
  • 1 can whole tomatoes in puree or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • your choice of ingredient(s) from optional list
  • Generous splash of wine or sherry
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • salt (or soy sauce - see note) and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • Optional: Pinch of red pepper or dash of tabasco sauce

Have you tried Brunswick Stew?

See results

Instructions

  1. Cut chicken into pieces. I prefer to use boneless thighs or a combination of thigh and breast meat, but you can use all boneless breast meat if you like. Personally, I think the texture of the stew is better with the dark meat.
  2. Saute the onion in a little bit of oil (Canola, olive or sunflower) until slightly golden. Add the chicken and saute lightly. (If you are also using minced garlic, brown it along with the onion).
  3. Add the tomato paste and then the chicken broth, stirring until the paste is well blended with the broth, and simmer slowly for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic powder.
  4. Cut up and add tomatoes and the puree. Stir. Wait a few minutes and stir in baking soda.
  5. Add frozen vegetables and bring pot to boil again before lowering to simmer. When frozen veggies are about half way cooked, add other seasonings and stir.
  6. Add canned vegetables and wine. Stir.
  7. NOTE: I prefer using low sodium organic chicken broth and add gluten-free low sodium soy sauce instead of salt. I will also add a dash of hot Indian red pepper to give this a little zip.

Basic Vegetarian Brunswick Stew

Since Brunswick Stew is a meat-based dish, I like to add vegetable protein and meat substitutes rather than simply leaving out the meat and ignoring what it brings to the table. I feel that replacing rather than just omitting the meat better captures the essence of the recipe and its associated traditions. You can also add your choice of veggies or any vegetarian items from our options list, but be sure to include okra, corn and tomatoes for an authentic taste.

Here's my version. Hope you find it worthy of the name.

Cook Time

Prep Time: Minimal

Total Time: Less than 1 hour

Serves: about 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb vegan chicken substitute crumbled
  • 2 crumbled cooked veggie burgers or 8 to 12 ounces crumbled tofu or textured vegetable protein
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion chopped or sliced
  • 1 clove fresh garlic minced or equivalent if using frozen or powdered
  • 1 large can tomatoes chopped with puree or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 16 to 20 ounces frozen cut okra
  • 1 can baby corn or 1 to 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 cup frozen lima or butter beans
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen sliced carrots
  • 1 small sliced zucchini or yellow summer squash
  • 4 medium potatoes diced or 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: generous splash of dry white wine or sherry

Instructions

  1. Saute onions and garlic until lightly golden in large stockpot. Add broth and fresh or frozen vegetables. Bring to boil, lower to slow simmer and add tomatoes and baking soda, stirring well. Add seasonings and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add canned vegetables and veggie chicken substitute and crumbles and simmer another 10 minutes.
  2. Serve with a salad and sourdough or corn bread.

Optional and Alternate Ingredients for Brunswick Stew

Brunswick stew is a flexible recipe and there are regional as well as personal variations. I like being able to use what is on hand to stretch the recipe or just for the convenience of not having to run to the store. (Note: I make this frequently so I always have the core ingredients - frozen okra, fresh onions, canned baby corn and tomatoes - on hand.) You can add one, two or more of the following depending on your tastes and what you have on hand - but be selective and don't go overboard. Brunswick stew should be relatively simple and have a fresh taste.

There are recipes that add barbecue sauce and ketchup instead of tomatoes, add prepared mustard and chili peppers, cajun seasonings, and other condiments - even butter, but since I try to cook and eat as healthy as possible, I tend to avoid things that are, for example, highly processed, exceptionally salty or high in fat.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced white and/or sweet potatoes
  • Diced or thinly sliced red or green pepper
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 can black-eyed peas
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen sliced carrots
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cut green beans
  • 2 sliced or chopped celery stalks
  • Frozen succotash
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 3 -4 strips of crumbled cooked bacon
  • 2 links of cooked sausage - sliced or crumbled
  • Pulled Pork
  • Hot Sauce to taste
  • Worcestershire Sauce to taste
  • Garlic - either fresh minced and browned or in powdered form
  • Fresh or dried herbs (oregano or basil etc)
  • Dumplings (will add gluten and more carbs)
  • Gumbo file
  • Zucchini or Summer Squash

Instructions

  1. Follow directions in the basic or short-cut recipes above depending on which method you are using. See our vegetarian version for more ideas.

Where Did Brunswick Stew Originate? - The Controversy Continues

A markerBrunswick -
Brunswick GA
get directions

Brunswick, Georgia or Brunswick, Virginia? - Where did Brunswick Stew Originate?

There is a long-standing controversy over exactly where and how Brunswick Stew was first made, with both states claiming that distinction. What do you think?

Brunswick Stew Videos

I was very disappointed to discover that most of the recipes on You Tube did not resemble anything I knew as traditional Brunswick Stew. Sure, some of them look like tasty meals and a few are even what I would call healthy, but Brunswick Stew they ain't. I've selected some that are or resemble what I (and my relatives in Virginia and Georgia) know as Brunswick Stew - plus a few related videos that will give you an idea of the regional pride in this dish.

© CJS. All Rights Reserved.
© CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Are you lucky enough to have a hand-me-down family Brunswick Stew recipe?

What makes your recipe special?

Wanna tell the world what your secret Brunswick Stew ingredient is?

Please leave us a message, share your thoughts,

or just say hello and let us know you were here.

More Recipes from Chazz - Can be found in His "Cookbook" Directory

Chazz's Collection of Recipes
Chazz's recipes have proved to be pretty popular and he has fun sharing them. You'll find his growing collection organized in this "cookbook" or index of recipes...

From Appetizers to Desserts, Alphabet Soup to Zabaglione (coming soon), the collection also includes Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten Free Recipes!

Chazz keeps adding more delicious recipes, so bookmark the page and check back for the latest installments!

Do You Have a Favorite Brunswick Stew Version? - Do you prefer a vegetarian stew? Chicken, beef or pork?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I saw this over in Recipes and must have been drawn over by the aroma. I do love stew but have never even heart of Brunswick stew before and I know I'd love it. Nice that you have the chicken for the less gamey and it is so hard to get good squirrel or rabbit these days. I've had lots of game over the years but have never tried squirrel. My Dad thought he'd raise rabbits for eating but we girls turned them into pets and got to his soft heart. I've never had succotash, so this would be a whole new experience for me. Whew, and you cook too! :)

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 5 years ago from Ohio

      Cornbread muffins are definitely a must for the complete experience!

    • profile image

      mockingbird999 5 years ago

      I've never had it, but the recipes sound really good.

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