Brunswick Stew was inspired by a discussion with my friend on the problem with pork hocks. More precisely, what to do with a freezer full of them (also a freezer full of blueberries, but I was no help there). Since I also seem to have more pork hocks than any one hog should have - I have eight in my freezer, and I'm sure there are only two hind legs - I decided to look for a recipe that would use them up.
The pork hocks that I used in this recipe were smoked, but if yours are not, it's not a problem. You can add a teaspoon or so of liquid smoke and get the same effect, or leave it plain and it will be just as good. The meat of the pork hocks is almost sweet, and that adds a great flavour to the stew whether there is smoke in there or not.
Traditional Brunswick Stew is a Southern Dish, served with cornbread. My version is a little modified for what I had on hand, but it still turned out good. I may change my mind if I get the chance to eat real Brunswick Stew. The original recipe calls for a 28oz can of diced tomatoes, but kids voted no on that, so I used the tomato paste instead.
Brunswick Stew, with Chicken and Pork Hocks
about 3 hours, start to finish
3 cups chicken broth
1 smoked or plain pork hock, about 1 to 1.5 lbs
3 large chicken breasts, or leg quarters, or a small roaster cut up
3/4 cup barbeque sauce (barbecue? BBQ? my spell checker is protesting)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp celery salt
salt and pepper, to taste
2 bay leaves
1 5oz can tomato paste (the small can)
1.5lbs potatoes, scrubbed and cut in chunks (peel them if you really need to)
3 medium carrots, about 3/4lb,
1/2 package frozen sweet corn (1kg package, 2lb package) OR 1 can creamed corn (for a different texture)
large handful of frozen green or yellow beans
Simmer the chicken broth, pork hocks, chicken breasts, barbeque sauce, bay leaves, celery salt, sugar, and seasonings for about 1 hour, or until the chicken and pork hock are cooked through. Take the chicken and pork out of the pot, and set aside to cool slightly. Add in the tomato paste, potatoes and carrots to the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked. Shred or cut into chunks the chicken and cut the meat off of the pork hock, and add those back to the pot. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for another 10 or 15 minutes, until heated through.
Serve with a side of greens and some cornbread!
This is really good if it's been left in the fridge for a night to contemplate its fate.
For the chicken, I have used those cheap, frozen, pre-seasoned chicken breasts that always seem really fatty and gross when used like a normal chicken breast. They work very well with the long cooking of this recipe, and do not get dried out after prolonged cooking - which is something that should probably scare me, but I'm going to ignore that while the chicken is cheap.