Apr 14, 2010

Challenging myself : Daring Cooks' April Challenge Chicken and Rabbit Brunswick Stew

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.

At first I will have to confess that I worked a little around this months recipe. We are all sick, the kids have a sore throat and hubby is on the couch with lumbago.

I myself have huge problems with a liver inflammation what means fatty food is bad. I feel so horrible that even thinking about bacon is making me sick.

I used this month challenge to make a almost fat free version of Brunswick Stew. I used no Bacon, and only chicken breast and lean rabbit meat.

It was delicious. We will make it again, healthy and full of flavour this is a Winner.

I used vegetable stock as the Base, grilled the Chicken Breast and put it aside, thee rabbit I browned in a little rapeseed oil ( this is a beautiful oil for people with liver problems ).

As you will see if you take a look at the Original recipes you can see that the sky is the limit when it comes to the choice of meat and vegetables.

Please give it a try and maybe even go and take a look at the delicious versions of the amazing Daring Cooks.

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 (recipe below)
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

Recipe Two, The Short Way-
This version goes on the assumption that you already have cooked your meats and have broth on hand. This was also my first experience with eating Brunswick stew. It’s got more of a tomato base, has larger, chunkier vegetables, but is just as wonderful as recipe one. However, it is a lot quicker to make than the first recipe.

Brunswick Stew recipe from the Callaway, Va Ruritan Club, served yearly at the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival in Ferrum, Va.

Serves about 10

2 ½ lb TOTAL diced stewed chicken, turkey, and ham, with broth - yes, all three meats
3 medium diced potatoes
2 medium ripe crushed tomatoes
2 medium diced onions
3 cups/ 689.76 grams / 24.228oz frozen corn
1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz frozen lima beans
4-5 strips crumbled bacon
½ stick / 4 tablespoons / ¼ cup / 56.94 grams / 2oz of butter
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / .5 oz sugar
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / .5 oz ‘Poultry Seasoning’
Dash of red pepper
2 diced carrots (optional)
Tomato juice


Recipe 1-

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.


In large stock pot or Dutch Oven, mix all ingredients, heat until bubbly and hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato juice as desired. Cook until all vegetables are tender. Serve hot.

Optional- Not required for the Challenge-

Sunday Chicken Broth

From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Makes about 1 quart (4 cups or 919.68 grams or 32.303 oz)
Estimated Time- 1 ¼ hours

Bones and trimmings, but not giblets, of one 3 ½- 4 ½ lb (1594.32-2049.84 grams or 56-72 oz) chicken, or 12-14 oz / 341.64-398.58 grams / approx. 2 cups chicken bones and trimmings
1 large onion, trimmed, peeled, quartered
6 large stems fresh flat leaf parsley
1 stalk celery, cut into 2” lengths
2 large bay leaves
5 cups / 1149.6 grams / 40.379 oz cold water
1 cup / 229.92 grams / 8.076oz crisp dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Place bones/trimmings in medium stockpot and add onion, parsley, celery and bay leaves. Add wine and water, liquid should cover all ingredients, if not, add more until it does. Bring to vigorous simmer over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer gently for roughly 45 minutes to an hour, skimming any scum or fat that comes to the surface.

Strain broth into bowl through fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids. Measure what you are left with, if not planning to further reduce, then salt and pepper to taste.

Store in tightly sealed container in refrigerator until the remaining fat congeals on the top. Remove the fat, and unless not using within 2 days, keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Otherwise, freeze, and it will keep for upwards of a month.


Anna said...

Great looking stew - and what a nice photos! :)
Cheers. Anula.

Anonymous said...

I should learn from your example and try some fat free cooking! Looks like it came out really tasty.
They say rabbit is a really healthy meat, low cholesterol etc.

Winnie said...

Sorry your family hasn't been feeling well...glad you were able to adapt the stew to make it work- it looks wonderful!

shelley c. said...

Well done, adapting the recipe to make it fat free, and thus more tummy-friendly for yourself. It looks delicious!

Marisa said...

This is a very healthy meal indeed, even if you leave in the bacon. I'd like to think all those veggies make up for the little bit of fat from the bacon! :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed that despite of your health problems you took on the challenge! The stew looks wonderful. And thanks for commenting on my post and letting me know about the reason why rabbits' heads are wrapped in aluminium foil.

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

Your stew looks terrific. It's great that a nearly fat-free dish can be so tasty and ironic too, as food from the US South is not normally associated with anything healthy

Evelyne @ CheapEthniEatz said...

Again all sick...echineacea!

Great low fat version!

Adriana said...

Healthy but yummy, is always a great combination! Hope you and your family feel better soon.

Audax said...

Even with everybody being ill you did the challenge super effort and you made it low fat even better I'm very impressed with your dedication bravo bravo bravo, Excellent result and you used rabbit. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

chef_d said...

Oh yummy! your fat free version still looks very delicious!

Wolf said...

I'm glad you were still able to make the Challenge and even adapt it to your dietary needs! Great job!

It looks yummy and bet no one would ever know there was so little fat in it.}:)

Angelica said...

Sorry to hear about your family getting sick! I guess a delicious, healthy, fat-free brunswick stew made getting sick a lot better. Great job on the challenge!

Sarah said...

This looks great. We call it canola oil up in Canada and it is recommended as a healthy oil along with olive oil. Good job!

Unknown said...

thanks for the comment on my blog! its great to see yours! This look SO yummy!!

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

Your stew looks so tasty & inviting too!

Many greets from sunny Brussels, Belgium!

Valérie said...

Beautiful stew! I'm sure using lean meat and no bacon didn't taken anything away from it! I hope you and your family feel better soon!

Jennifer Juniper said...

You are daring! Good job!

tariqata said...

Good call on lightening up the stew - and as another non-bacon user, I think it was great without it!

I hope that everyone in your family is better soon!

TaGa_Luto said...

Wow! You really, really did a great job to this challenge. I like that you weren't discouraged, instead you made the challenge and made it according to your families needs. Congratulations!

Lisa said...

Your stew looks phenomenal, Wic! I hope you and the family are feeling better. A nice bowl hot stew definitely warms the tummy..at the very least :)

Kris Ngoei said...

How is everyone at home? Hope they are well now....

I like Brunswick Stew which is kind of soupy, just like yours.

Sawadee from Bangkok,

Lovlie said...

That's one yummy looking stew! This was a nice challenge!