Brunswick Stew

My mother would make big pots of Brunswick stew in the winter months and this for me is the first flavor I want when the weather turns cold. I had never cooked it before but decided yesterday was as good a day as any to give it a try. I made a few changes, adding chorizo, paprika and roasting the bones, but otherwise stayed true to my Mom’s recipe. Feel free to skip the chorizo. I think it adds depth to the broth but it’s not crucial that use use it but don’t skip roasting the meat. The color and flavor are greatly improved with the browned bones. This stew like most is even better the next day which I can attest to as I throughly enjoyed the bowl I had for breakfast this morning. I started this recipe in the Crock Pot since I had errands to run but finished it on the stove because it was too soupy for my taste right out of the Crock Pot. 30 minutes bubbling away on the stove while I made cornbread took it to a perfect stew like texture. You can cook the entire stew on the stove top. It would take 1-1/2 to 2 hours I’m guessing but if you have a Crock Pot use it so you can get every bit of goodness from the bones.Now, about this recipe. Bones. I cook with bones whenever possible. They hold the most flavor and it’s cheaper to buy meat on the bone. In Durham there’s a fabulous Latin market, Compare, which also has other locations across NC.  Their neck bones are a thing of beauty so if there’s a location near you head there. I’ve also seen neck bones at Food Lion. If there’s a Starbucks in your grocery store you likely won’t find neck bones. Also, don’t buy smoked neck bones as they will completely alter the recipe’s flavor. It may seem  like there’s a ton of meat in this recipe but it’s a fiction. There’s not a lot of meat on the neck bones but enough that the stew is rich and satisfying instead of a meat heavy hot mess. Serve this stew alongside AzArlie’s No-Flour Cornbread and you’ll have a hearty delicious meal.

2.5 pounds pork neck bones (if you must substitute use pork steaks which are fattier than chops or pork shoulder)

12 oz cooked turkey meat, it doesn’t need to be shredded or off the bone OR  3 bone-in skin on chicken thighs, about 12 oz. total

1 medium onion, roughly chopped, about 1 cup

1 14-1/2 oz can diced tomatoes with juice

OPTIONAL: 3 oz. fresh chorizo, removed from casing (If you’re at the Latin market head to the meat counter, make sure you get pork chorizo not the beef one. I’ve also used Johnsonville Chorizo but I favor the fresh market type.)

4 cups chicken or turkey broth

2 tsp smoked mild paprika

salt and pepper

3 heaping Tbs tomato paste

2 c. frozen corn kernels

2. c. frozen baby lima beans

1. Roast the Bones and the Chicken ****If you use cooked turkey or any cuts of pork other than neck bones, do not roast them. They go in the pot as is.**

Using a 13×9 metal pan, add the neck bones and chicken. Do not take the skin off the chicken. If you’re using leftover turkey there’s no need to roast it. Salt and pepper the meat, about 1 tsp. fine/table salt  and 1 tsp pepper per side. Flip the meat and salt and pepper the other side. Set your oven to broil (low, middle rack) and broil the meat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until there is significant browning on the neck bones. The chicken skin will burn, that’s fine. The goal is to render some of the fat so your pork bones are getting  nice bath.

2. While the meat roasts chop your onions and toss them into your crockpot along with the chorizo.

3. The meat should be done roasting. Remove the chicken skin and add the chicken thighs and neck bones to the pot. Do not pour from the roasting pan into the Crock Pot because you don’t want all that excess fat.

4. Pour the broth and canned tomatoes into the Crock-Pot. Add 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper and 2 tsp. smoked mild paprika.

5. Slap the lid on the Crock Pot, set it for 6 – 8 hours and go about your day.

6. After 6 hours the stew is ready for finishing.

To Finish:

The meat is fall off the bones tender and in most instances has done so on its own. I use tongs to stir the stew and remove the bones as I feel them. They’re easy to locate though some smaller ones might escape you. Don’t worry about it. Just get the large ones.

Once you’ve removed the bones transfer the Crock Pot contents to a soup pot over medium heat. Using a potato masher, mash the soup – this is how I shred the meat and you’ll find any bones you missed. Make about 5 passes through the soup. Stir in the tomato paste. It’s fine if it’s not perfectly blended in.

Go make the corn bread while the stew boils down for 2o minutes. You want a high simmer. Add the lima beans and corn, taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Let it simmer about 10 minutes more. Dinner’s ready!


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