Jane and Michael Stern’s Real American Food is ‘American cuisine as eaten by real folks every day’, from Mary Mac’s Green Tomato Chowchow to Winnemucca Coffee.
The section on the South has a recipe for Brunswick Stew, slightly adapted below, which the Stems call ‘domesticated’ to distinguish it from the supposed original ‘slave’s make-do meal of stale bread, onions and a brace of fresh-killed squirrels’. Several Brunswicks in North Carolina and Virginia claim this, although I’ve only eaten it in Brunswick, Georgia, where – although a trashy version made of minced beef and chicken – it was the only item of note on at the local branch of the Western Sizzlin’ steak-house. It is similar to the famous burgoo of Kentucky, although I can find no authorities prepared to back the possibility of linguistic connection.
I have left the squirrel option out of the ingredients. Toy instead with the idea of adding to the basic recipe rabbit or chicken giblets, finely chopped pork offcuts, celery, carrots, finely sliced cabbage, garlic, dried red pepper, potatoes and additional vegetables in season such as green beans or okra.
Brown meat in oil in a large pan. Remove meat and brown onions in remaining oil. Return meat to pan. Add all other ingredients except sweetcorn and broad beans. Bring to the boil. Cover. Reduce heat and leave to simmer for one hour.
At this stage you can either bone and hack up the meat or leave it on the bone. Add com, broad beans and up to another 8 fl oz water, if stew is too thick. Simmer 30 minutes. Check seasoning.
© 1988 Jeremy Round estate, represented by AM Heath. All rights reserved.