We all collect recipes for special occasions. But who has special recipes for Election Day gatherings and Election Night parties? Old-Fashioned Southern Brunswick Stew is an old southern tradition to lure people to the polls. It's a simple stew, just layers of different meats and favorite southern vegetables like corn, okra and lima beans. And it's healthy too, great for parties but simple enough for family meals too.
The facts are apocryphal so I’m sticking with the legend about Brunswick Stew, the story that captured my fancy when I looked for healthy election-night party food a couple of years ago.
The story is that in certain times and places in the American South, political players would use a big pot of thick stew – traditionally squirrel meat with southern-style vegetables like corn, lima beans and okra – to lure people to the polls on election day. Cast your ballot, stop by for stew. Whenever the pot got low, someone would head to the woods with a shotgun for more meat for the pot.
Would the promise of a pot of stew draw you to your polling station? In a few days, it will once again be time to perform our civic duty, our personal privilege, by voting. I’ll be casting my ballot, whatever your politics, I hope you will too.
And when the polls close and the votes are tallied, I sincerely hope that no matter the outcome, people of all political persuasions will gather round pots of Brunswick Stew to become something much closer to the “United” States of America than we’ve become in recent years.
There will plenty of time, tomorrow, to stand up for our ideology and our candidate. On this night, let’s celebrate our right to vote, the privilege of fair elections, even if the process, the road to the polls, is as messy and unpredictable as a big pot of squirrel stew.
HOMEMADE CAJUN SEASONING BLEND For two tablespoons Cajun Seasoning, mix 1-1/2 teaspoons each of paprika and cumin with 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, thyme and oregano.
BRUNSWICK STEW RECIPE
Time to table: 4 – 9 hours
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- About 1-1/2 pounds chicken thighs, halved if large
- About 1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut in bite-size pieces
- Splash water
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 8 ounces frozen lima beans
- 8 ounces frozen corn
- 12 ounces frozen okra
- 2 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 300F.
In a small bowl, combine Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper.
In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium high until shimmery. Add the chicken pieces, sprinkle with half the seasoning. Cook until brown and crispy, set aside and keep warm. (BROWNING TIPS The skillet should be hot enough that the chicken sizzles when put into the pan. Leave room between the pieces, no crowding. Let the chicken cook, without moving, until brown on one side before turning to cook the other side.)
In the same skillet, cook the beef pieces the same way. Set aside and keep warm.
Add a splash to deglaze the pan, then add the onion, celery, green pepper and cook, stirring often, until beginning to turn a beautiful gold color. Add garlic and cook one more minute. Set aside.
In a large wide oven-safe braising pan, build the “layers”:
- Half the onion-celery-pepper mix
- Cooked chicken thighs
- Half the tomato
- Half the frozen vegetables
- Remaining onion-pepper mix
- Cooked beef
- Remaining vegetables
Add the chicken stock, cover and cook in the oven for at least three hours and up to six hours until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve tableside with rice or grits and good humor.
This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2011
Chocolate Chili (<< personal favorite) Baked Apples Trio of Sandwich & Cracker Spreads (Cranberry Orange Spread, Almond Cilantro Spread & Sun-Dried Tomato Spread) Thick Chops with Sauerkraut White Chicken Chili Lamb with Lemon & Oregano Fall Stew Baked in a Whole Pumpkin Healthy Trail Mix Homemade Sazón Champion Chicken
This Week, Elsewhere
More Fall & Winter Stew Recipes
More Recipes from the American South
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