Brunswick Stew

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    6 to 8


Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

The name of the following dish is derived from the place of its origin, Brunswick County, Virginia. The dish was originally made with squirrel, but chicken makes a practical and palatable substitute. The dish was created in the early 1800s, and one source states specifically in the year 1828 at a political rally. Some authorities state that only onions were used in the original recipe and that corn and lima beans (which to my taste are essential to the goodness of the dish) were added with the passage of time.


  • 1 chicken (about 5 pounds), cut into serving pieces
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 cup diced sweet green peppers
  • 1 ham bone (about 2 pounds), preferably from a Smithfield or country ham
  • 2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 dried hot red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cups lima beans, preferably freshly shelled, although frozen lima beans may be used
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels or defrosted frozen whole-kernel corn


  • Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large heavy kettle and brown the chicken on all sides. Add the onions, celery, and green peppers and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are wilted.
  • Add the ham bone, tomatoes, water to cover by about 1 inch above the level of the solids, parsley, hot red pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil and cover closely. Cook about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
  • Transfer the chicken to a warm dish. Replace the cover and continue cooking the stew for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and put them in a saucepan or kettle. Add cold water to cover and salt to taste. Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Put them through a food mill or ricer.
  • When the stew has cooked for the indicated time, add the lima beans and cook 20 minutes more.
  • Cut off any tender meat from the chicken pieces and the ham bone if there is any. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes and return it to the stew. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and the corn and cook uncovered 10 minutes. Add the mashed potatoes and stir to blend evenly. Cook 10 minutes longer.
  • Serve hot with plain rice.