Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 2010 Daring Cooks Challenge- A pan-Southern Classic

I finished my April challenge way ahead of time. It was the lenten season here in Manila and there were two (2) non-working holidays which meant time on my hands. Yay! No rushing!
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.
Brunswick Stew has a long, and oft debated history. Brunswick, Georgia claimed that the first Brunswick Stew was created there in 1898. There is, at the Golden Isles Welcome Center on Interstate 95, a bronzed stew pot with a plaque proclaiming this fact.
However, Brunswick, Virginia claims that the first Brunswick Stew was created there by a camp cook named Jimmy Matthews in 1828, for a hunting expedition led by Dr. Creed Haskings, a member of the Virginia State Legislature for a number of years. He was said to have used squirrel in the original Brunswick Stew created for the group when they returned. The hunters were at first skeptical of the thick, hearty concoction, but upon tasting it, were convinced and asked for more.
Every year, there is an Annual Brunswick Stew Cookoff that pits ‘Stewmasters’ from both Virgina and Georgia against their counterparts, and takes place every October in Georgia.
In the early 20th Cent, the rivalry of the two Brunswicks helped make this dish as popular as it is today, and it quickly became a pan-Southern classic. Some recipe call for the original addition of squirrel, but most allow for chicken, turkey, ham, or pork, even beef on occasion. Rabbit is also used. The vegetables can vary widely from variation to variation, however, the Brunswick Stewmasters recipe says *exactly* what is used in competion stews, and states that “Adding any additional ingredient(s) will disqualify the stew from being an original Brunswick Stew.”

All the yummy goodness of a hearty stew

However, most agree that, Brunswick stew is not done properly “until the paddle stands up in the middle.”

We were given 2 recipes, one long and one short. I chose to make the long version because I'm a firm believer that longer cooking time makes it more tasty and develops the flavors better.

Recipe One, the Long Way-From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
Serves about 12
1/4 lb / 113.88 grams / 4 oz slab bacon, rough diced
2 Serrano, Thai or other dried red chiles, stems trimmed, sliced, seeded, flattened
1lb / 455.52 grams / 16oz rabbit, quartered, skinned
1 4-5lb / 1822.08- 2277.6 grams / 64-80oz chicken, quartered, skinned, and most of the fat removed
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / ½ oz sea salt for seasoning, plus extra to taste
2-3 quarts / 8-12 cups / 64.607-96.9oz Sunday Chicken Broth
2 Bay leaves
2 large celery stalks
2lbs / 911.04 grams / 32oz Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes, peeled, rough diced
1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz carrots (about 5 small carrots), chopped
3 ½ / 804.72 grams / 28.266oz cups onion (about 4 medium onions) chopped
2 cups / 459.84 grams / 16.152oz fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 ears)
3 cups / 689.76 grams / 24.228oz butterbeans, preferably fresh (1 ¼ lbs) or defrosted frozen
1 35oz can / 996.45 grams / 4 cups whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
¼ cup / 57.48 grams / 2.019 oz red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
Tabasco sauce to taste
*I used ham, chicken and carabao (water buffalo) sausages for my meats
*Instead of Sunday chicken broth, I made ham stock by boiling ham bones, celery, carrots, onions, garlic, peppercorns and bayleaf for 3 hours and straining the liquid
1-In the largest stockpot you have, which is hopefully larger than the 5 qt ones I have, preferably a 10-12 qt or even a Dutch Oven if you’re lucky enough to have one, 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.
2- Season liberally both sides of the rabbit and chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper. Place the rabbit pieces in the pot and sear off all sides possible. You just want to brown them, not cook them completely. Remove to bowl with bacon and chiles, add more bacon fat if needed, or olive oil, or other oil of your choice, then add in chicken pieces, again, browning all sides nicely. Remember not to crowd your pieces, especially if you have a narrow bottomed pot. Put the chicken in the bowl with the bacon, chiles and rabbit. Set it aside.
3- Add 2 cups of your chicken broth or stock, 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, chicken, rabbit, 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 chicken or rabbit 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”.
4- With a pair of tongs, remove the chicken and rabbit 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.5 After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, carefully remove all the meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. 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.
5- Add in your onion, butterbeans, 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.
6 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
*I was surprised by how tasty the stew was. I ate some of it right away and then packed away the rest in the fridge. I brought it with me to work after two days, and the flavors became more pronounced as it was reheated. My friends loved it and pretty soon the steaming bowls of stew were emptied and pronounced as "one of the best we've ever tasted!"
Thank you Wolf for this challenge!


TaGa_Luto said...

Yum!This is crazy but i just had my stew for lunch but i'm still interested on your stew=;) Your shot of your stew is inviting!

I wish i can get a hold of that carabao sausage. I don't think it's here yet, guess i'll have to wait for a year or so?, it's all a supply and demand thing here in our Asian store. They will have these if a lot of people will look for this product.

Anonymous said...

Ham stock is such an under utilized stock in my opinion. It seems like it is only used in beans or greens here in the States. I really like the idea of this stew with that stock.

Dougal said...

I love the simplicity of the photo with the spoon standing up :)

- Heather Mulholland

Audax said...

Water buffalo that is very tasty and a great choice with the Brunswick stew and it sounds it was a winner at work. And your photos are very professional well done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and the stew looks delicious.

anjelikuh said...

Congrats on making such a beautiful stew! I'm also a believer in long cooking hours, glad to know you made the long way as well :D

Wic said...

it looks delicious. love your version.

innBrooklyn said...

Your stew looks delicious: I like your combination of buffalo and ham stock! I'm super jealous of your having days off work to be in the kitchen :)

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

I wrote about the squirrels too. carabao sausage sounds interesting. You stew looks delish.

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

What a delicious twist on the Brunswick Stew recipe - ham, chicken and carabao/water buffalo sausages sounds like a great combination!

Lori said...

That spoon is standing perfect. Looks yummy!

shelley c. said...

Great pictures and a truly delicious looking stew! Glad that everyone liked it so much! Great job on the challenge.

Dougal said...

Thanks for the comment :)

I believe Ballymaloe bread is Irish - not sure were my recipe comes from, grabbed it from my Dad, which means it could have come from my Scottish great grandmother or my Irish cousin lol But if you want to give it a try, I could send the recipe over :)

- Heather Mulholland

cuppy said...

Water buffalo? First time I've ever seen that in a recipe! ;)

I like your idea of ham stock a lot. I have some frozen ham (from Christmas!) that I wasn't sure what I should use it for, and I think that might be a winning idea. :D :D

Marisa said...

Yummy! The carabao sausages sounds like an interesting addition.

Valérie said...

Your stew looks excellent! Love your pics, too!

blepharisma said...

Uh-oh!! I think my stew would definitely disqualify!!! Hahahaha...

oggi said...

I wish I can get kalabaw sausage or meat and yes milk here in the US. I will ask for it at our Filipino grocery store.:)

You did a great job. I love the idea of using ham stock. It sounds yummy.

tariqata said...

I firmly agree with you on the long cooking - and even more on the way this stew got better the next day.

Barbara Bakes said...

How fun that you shared this with friends at work. Love you spoon shot!

nikki said...

Your stew looks amazing and I think the "stewmasters" would approve!

A cupcake or two said...

Your Brunswick stew looks amazing. I love hearty meaty stews, especially in winter.

Lisa Michelle said...

One thing I learned at a very young age and continue to follow to this day..make stew, let it sit overnight then heat and serve the following day. Something truly magical happens when you let the flavors meld. I know, hard not eat immediately (and I usually do have some anyway), but so worth it.

That said, your stew and photos turned out gorgeous. Nice and chunky, but in a perfect 'stewie' way :)

Eat4Fun said...

The carabao sausage is something unique and sounds very good. You did a wonderful job on this challenge.