Mr. Autrey would come in through our front door, pass the living room, where my sister and I were usually sitting on the sofa watching Roy Rogers or Sky King on television, stop and tell us to go get mud and make mud pies, and then head down the hall toward the kitchen and out the back door. In the back yard he had a fire going under a big black iron pot of Brunswick stew and it was time to stir the pot. Of course my mother thought that he had already done that when he told us that we should be making mud pies in our living room.
It was fall, and time for making Brunswick stew. The only person who could make it the way our family liked it was Mr. Autrey. But, making this stew required cooking large amounts of meat and chicken, and it was a long and tedious process that took an entire day of stirring and adding vegetables at just the right time.
Over the years I have realized that I will never eat another stew like Mr. Autrey made for us in that big iron pot, but there are other recipes out there that make good stew. The one below is one of those and it gave me the perfect opportunity to use some of my frozen summer harvest of creamed corn and green limas. You’ll like this stew on a cold day too, because it’s heartier than soup.
After you’ve made the stew, put some up in canning jars and stick in the freezer or give a jar to a friend. One recipe makes about 2 quarts, but I doubled the recipe when I made it so that I could freeze some and give 2 jars away.
If you really want to make a whole bunch of Brunswick stew from an old recipe, please e-mail me and I’ll send you the long version that serves 25, which I can tell you that you won’t regret making. Just be prepared for the time.
The easy version modified from Southern Elegance is below- enjoy!
Salt and pepper the ribs and place them in a foil lined baking pan. Salt and pepper the chicken and place it in another foil lined baking pan. Cook in a 325º oven until the ribs are done –about an hour, and cook the chicken until tender and done it pulls apart easily. Cover with foil and set aside ribs and chicken to cool until it can be handled. Shred the ribs and the chicken and place in a large Dutch oven.
Add the remaining ingredients and put over a very low heat. Cook, stirring often (to keep from sticking) for about an hour.
Brunswick stew is supposed to be thick, but if your creamed corn is thick to begin with, then you may want to add a small amount of chicken broth to the stew to thin it slightly.
By Kate Karam for Monrovia
Photograph courtesy of Monrovia
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