Mama Bessie’s Brunswick Stew
Here’s the recipe for my great grandmother’s Brunswick stew. She was from Bessemer City, NC. The recipe and commentary are from my Aunt Parker, my mother’s sister and Mama Bessie’s granddaughter.
Brunswick Stew: this is a combination of Mama Bessie’s and Honey’s (Mama Bessie did not add Sherry)
2 tbs of bacon grease
1 frying chicken (1& 1/2 lb.) & 1 rabbit (1 lb) If you can’t find a rabbit, increase chicken to 2 lbs.)
3 cups water
3 tomatoes, peeled & quartered
1/2 cup sherry
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons of worcestershire sauce
1 lb fresh lima beans
salt & pepper
1/2 cup okra (fresh)
3 ears of corn
Brown onions in bacon grease. Cut chicken & rabbit in small pieces, season with salt & pepper and brown in grease with onions. When chicken & rabbit pieces are cooked, pour off the grease & put onions & meat in a dutch oven. Add the water, tomatoes, sherry & Worcestershire sauce. Cook slowly over low flame for 1/2 hour, then add beans, okra & corn cut from cob. Let simmer one hour. Add butter & bread crumbs and cook another 1/2 hour.
The trick is getting the chicken & rabbit meat off the bone before you add the beans, okra & corn. Mama Bessie was really good about not leaving any bones…Honey was terrible. The traditional Brunswick stew was made with squirrel meat but Mama Bessie would not eat squirrel (or possum). At least, that’s what she told us.
Good luck. Seems like a lot of work but the kids might think it fun to cook with rabbit (or they could call the SPCA and have you arrested).