YaYa’s Easy Week Night Brunswick Stew

Southerners know that rocking chairs and porch swings are guaranteed stress relievers.

Brunswick stew best
Easy and delicious dinner with obstacles!  Kitchen Olympics, such a timely event…well my vent hood is out of commission so cooking is a bit of a challenge these days and it is setting off a domino effect in the replacement area since the switch is broken, they don’t make the hood any longer in that model and the one simple part isn’t available anywhere on earth or so it seems.  So if I need to use the oven I have to remove the pizza tiles and stones in case there is any amount of semolina or spillover of cheese that will burn off and smoke up the place.  Yes, I have two windows, but there is a hurricane shutter set at an angle that prevents us from opening it more than 3 inches…did I mention that it is also 90º or more so grilling time is brief or a long slow smoker recipe that doesn’t require much attention?

With that said some days are just more tedious, but I’m pretty good at improvising and yesterday was no exception, first of all when I see a combination of freshly picked butter beans and corn, a lonely little chicken breast and pork tenderloin in the freezer I immediately thought about one of our favorites stew, Brunswick stew.  I know where is the pulled pork and chicken?  Solution a cheer wine brine/marinade for the pork (at least 3-4 hours) and I injected the chicken breast with a little chicken stock seasoned with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper then seasoned the exterior with more paprika, salt, and pepper.  I pan seared the chicken on the side burner of the grill early in the day so I could allow it to rest and then shredded it for the dish.  Michael grilled the pork tenderloin to about 130º and that sat covered with foil until time to slice or chunk up.  Whew!  If you are lucky enough to have or had access to some bbq, chicken pork or beef, by all means, use that, even better.

bowl of stew

I made a pan of cornbread with fresh corn and chopped jalapeños to go with our stew.

Earlier I prepared the basic ingredients for the stew for 4 or more.

1 big boneless chicken breasts fined or seasoned, smoked or grilled and shredded
1 pork tenderloin, marinated and grilled or smoked, sliced or cut into chunks

1 sweet onion diced
3 cloves of peeled garlic, smashed and minced
1 celery rib finely diced
corn from 4 ears of corn
about a pound of fresh butter beans
1 can (28 ounces) of whole San Marzano peeled tomatoes
3 fresh bay leaves
sprigs of parsley and thyme about 3 each
*optional splash of wine to deglaze pan, about 1/4 cup
salt and pepper
smoked paprika
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
splashes of hot sauce
1/4 cup bbq sauce
1 meaty ham shank
2-3 tablespoons good bbq sauce
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups vegetable stock
quarter small red potatoes 6-8 add to pot the last 35 minutes

Heat a large pot and add about 2 tablespoons EVOO, turn heat down to med-high and add the onion and green pepper sauté until slightly soft and garlic all of the herbs cook for a minute and splash in the wine if using if not add 1/4 cup chicken or beef broth, reduce slightly.  Toss in the corn, butter beans, canned tomatoes, ham shank stir season, taste then add all but 2 cups of broth reserving the rest to thin the stew if necessary.  Add the bbq sauce, hot sauce and Worcestershire stir.   It takes a while to cook the butter beans if they are fresh so all in all, I simmered the stew for about 1 hour and 1/2 keeping an eye on the liquid level.  Stew should be thick, but I like a little more broth to mine as it will thicken up the next day for delicious leftovers!

Pluck out the herb stems and bay leaves, remove ham shank and shred the meat (none of the fat) add meat to pot and bright up the heat to get piping hot