Over on Facebook, a high-school classmate asked, "I'm feeling the need for a good camp stew or brunswick stew. The weather is getting cool and we have a nice fire built in the firepit. Anybody have any good stew recipes they want to share? PLEASE?" So, it's definitely time to post a recipe to share.
The thing with Brunswick stew is that it is flexible. Ingredients are variable, and quantities are inexact. Beth and I use some version of this which started out once upon a time as a recipe we read in the Tallahassee Democrat sometime around 1981.
1 stewing chicken
1/2 to 1 lb. ground beef
1/2 to 1 lb. bulk sausage
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen black-eyed peas
1 cup frozen baby lima beans
1-2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 bottle barbecue sauce
1 cup ketchup
Put chicken into large dutch oven with enough water to cover. Add an onion and some celery if you have it and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for one hour. While the chicken is cooking, chop 2-3 onions and saute hamburger, sausage meat, and onions together until meat is cooked through and onions are done. Now is also a good time to peel the potatoes and carrots. Dice potatoes and slice carrots. (Put diced potatoes into water to prevent browning.)
When the chicken has cooked for an hour, remove it to a large bowl and remove any solids which remain in the broth. Stir hamburger mixture, all the vegetables, canned tomatoes, ketchup and BBQ sauce into the broth in the dutch oven. When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, pull all the meat from the bones and chop or shred then return the meat to the dutch oven.
Simmer for at least an hour until veggies are all done and flavors have mingled. If it's not soupy enough, add water. You probably won't need to add any salt, but feel free to adjust seasonings to suit.
This stew is never exactly the same, but it's always good. You can saute some garlic with the meat and onions if you like garlic and have it around. Same with bell peppers. Pick a sweet barbecue sauce or a smoky one or even a hot and spicy one. Add a couple of tablespoons of Tabasco it you want. Stir in some green peas near the end of the cooking time.
If you try my recipe, let me know how you made it your own.