Growing up in Virginia, Brunswick stew was definitely a part of the dinner table on more than one occasion.

From the famous Mrs. Fearnow’s “yellow can” (made in VA!) to local church & school Brunswick stew sales around town (it’s a tradition to make huge cauldrons of the stew for fundraising) – Brunswick stew is just about as Virginia as can be IMO!


Wellllll, technicallyyyyyy there is a debate of whether it originated in Brunswick County, VA or Brunswick, GA if we want to go there.

But who’s into technicalities anyway? 😉

Now if you’ve never heard of or had Brunswick stew, I’ll highlight the important facts for you:

  • tomato-based stew w/ beans (lima or butter), corn, okra, other veggies and meat
  • resembles thick veggie soup w/ meat, what makes it a stew is the consistency (thick! more meat/veg than liquid)
  • Virginia version uses chicken and sometimes rabbit as primary meat vs. Georgia where pork and beef are favored along with squirrel
  • the stew is usually allowed to cook for long periods of time (vs. soup)

My version tonight featured chicken.  Let’s face it, I’m not really in the market for cooking up a squirrel on a Tuesday night… just sayin 😉  But to each their own!

CookinFanatic Brunswick Stew

  • 2 (approx. 1lb) whole, skinless chicken legs
  • 2.5 cups reserved cooking water (from chicken)
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • 2 red potatoes (medium size), peeled & diced
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups frozen lima beans
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tblsp sugar
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

I started with the whole chicken legs, which I picked up at Whole Foods and are usually a pretty great price (apparently I’m the only dark meat eater in Richmond?)

I placed them into boiling water and let cook for about 10 minutes until they were done.

Then I removed the chicken from the pot and removed the meat from the bone, shredding into small pieces.

Save the cooking liquid!!!

I added the diced onion to the hot pan along with 1 tsp olive oil, letting them soften for 5 minutes.  Then added the shredded chicken plus some sea salt & black pepper.

I let this cook over medium for another minute or two before adding the lima beans and corn.

Then in went 2.5 cups of the reserved chicken broth plus the tomato sauce.

And the spices:  poultry seasoning, oregano, more salt and pepper.

And surprise…. sugar!!

I let this come up to a boil and then turned down to a simmer, covered. 

Since I had the time this afternoon, I let this cook for about 2 hours before adding the potatoes.  Stirring occasionally.

**If you want to take a shortcut and don’t have the time to let this cook that long, then go ahead and keep at a boil and add your potatoes now! 😀 **

After about 2 hours you will have the most tender fall apart stew.  At this point, add your diced potatoes and let simmer away for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are very very tender. 

The trick is that you want all the ingredients to kind of become one (at least I think so) which is why the longer cooking time is ideal.

However the shortcut route will still achieve great flavor, just a little different consistency I think.

Bam.  Loved it. 😛

And yes, you got that right…. I actually ate real food tonight (see ya never bread w/ cream cheese!)

That’s a celebration in itself now isn’t it?

One that I’m very thankful for since this morning I was not feeling so hot again.  Another trip to the doctor and lots of rest later, seems like things are looking up finally!  Hoping I can shake this thing once and for all 😛

Tell me, have you ever had Brunswick stew????