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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Daring Cook's Brunswick Stew

Hi guys, I am still on holiday and just pop in to post my Daring Cook's challenge. Wish you are all well and thanks so much for your comments. Will get back right to normal communication with you on next Tuesday. Meanwhile, stay cool :-)

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

Thanks, Wolf! It has been an exciting challenge!

From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
Serves 10

- Slab bacon - rough dice > 75 grams
- Thai dried red chiles - trim stems, slice, seed, flatten > 2
- Pork shoulder - cut into 1 inch dice > 800 grams
- Salt for seasoning > 1/2 tablespoon
- Pepper > enough for seasoning
- Clean water > 6 cups
- Chicken essence powder > 3 cubes
- Dried bay leaves > 2
- Fried shallots > for garnishing
- Chinese celery stalks - cut into 2 inch strips > 30 grams
- Potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes - peel, rough dice > 450 grams
- Carrots - rough cut > 225 grams
- Onion - chop > 400 grams
- Canned corn kernels - remove juice > 230 grams
- Steamed red kidney beans > 150 grams
- Peeled tomatoes - 500 grams
- Red wine vinegar > 30 grams

- In the largest stockpot, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan, and with the pan on the burner, add in the chiles. Toast the chiles until they just start to smell good, or make your nose tingle, about a minute tops. Remove to bowl with the bacon.
- Season liberally both sides of the pork pieces with salt and pepper. Place the pork pieces in the pot and sear off all sides possible. You just want to brown them, not cook them completely. Put the pork in the bowl with the bacon, and chiles. Set it aside.

- Add 2 cups of water and 1 cube of chicken essence, if you prefer, to the pan and basically deglaze the4 pan, making sure to get all the goodness cooked onto the bottom. The stock will become a nice rich dark color and start smelling good. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil away until reduced by at least half. Add your remaining stock, the bay leaves, celery, potatoes, pork, bacon, chiles and any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl they were resting in. Bring the pot back up to a low boil/high simmer, over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, remember to stir every 15 minutes, give or take, to thoroughly meld the flavors. Simmer, on low, for approximately 1 ½ hours. Supposedly, the stock may become a yellow tinge with pieces of pork floating up, the celery will be very limp, as will the chiles. Taste the stock, according to the recipe, it “should taste like the best chicken soup you’ve ever had”.

- With a pair of tongs, remove the pork pieces to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be careful, as by this time, the meats will be very tender and may start falling apart. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon and discard.
- After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, shred the pork. Return the meat to the pot, throwing away the bones. Add in your carrots, and stir gently, allowing it to come back to a slow simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes, or until the carrots have started to soften.

- Add in your onion, red kidney beans, corn and tomatoes. As you add the tomatoes, crush them up, be careful not to pull a me, and squirt juice straight up into the air, requiring cleaning of the entire stove. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly, and onions, corn and butterbeans are tender. Remove from heat and add in vinegar, lemon juice, stir to blend in well. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired.
- You can either serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours, which makes the flavors meld more and makes the overall stew even better. Serve hot, either on its own, or with a side of corn bread, over steamed white rice, with any braised greens as a side.
- Garnish with fried shallots before serving.


  1. Your stew is the prettiest I've seen so far! What a beautiful presentation, gorgeous pictures and splendid colors!



  2. Beautiful, nice and wholesome looking stew :) and as always great photography!

    Cheers from (hot and sunny!!!) Ireland.

    P.S. Hope you have a great holidays! Enjoy!

  3. this is so pretty, it looks amazing, even a little exotic. ( don`t ask me why thats just me talking)
    this Pictures are unbelievable.

  4. OMG your photos are so so so professional and the colours are so divine and vibrant excellent work on this challenge and I love how you cut up your root veggies. Bravo and kudos to you. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  5. Well done! It looks yummy!
    Enjoy your vacation!

  6. those looks yummy! Happy vacation,guys.. don't forget sunblock cream.. I know now it's too humid overthere..

  7. Absolutely gorgeous photos! I don't know if I would want to eat it, it looks so pretty!

  8. I had to laugh at "stay cool". Just today it snowed almost a foot so far. Great day for eating Brunswick stew leftovers.

  9. I'm amazed that you can make a stew look so attractive! The fancy slices are definitely a plus! Wonderful job! Enjoy your holiday!

  10. Wow your version looks gorgeous! have a great holiday! :)

  11. O that looks delicious!! Another challenge I missed I am afraid, but you have certainly made a beautiful stew... :)

  12. Kris, your brunswick stew looks delicious. Love the colourful veggies and the photographs are amazing as always.

  13. Hi, Kris. I'm sure you're enjoying your vacay! I'm amazed that you were able to finish and blog your challenge before your vacation. I like the veggie cutter you used. You take gorgeous pictures. You make the food so "alive" very enticing. Those fried shallots are great addition/garnish.

  14. Kris..I hope you had a marvelous holiday! How on earth did I miss your Brunswick stew? Well, truth be told I missed quite a few and am only catching up now, due to life 'stuff'.

    That said, your Brunswick stew is probably the most beautiful stew in the challenge. I love the crinkle cut carrots and the fried shallots are definitely a unique and welcome addition. Is it too forward to say I want to lick your photos? lol