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VD Stew


Dave the Cook
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My older copy of Joy of Cooking has instructions and illustrations on how to skin a squirrel just prior to the Brunswick Stew recipe. I don't know about this. Although it might be squab to some folks, I still think it's a nasty city pigeon that eats garbage and turns it into bird shit on any public monument! :blink: I'm for the domestic rabbit as a substitution, unless we can get ahold of some of those nice apple-eatin' squirrels! Lord knows how tough and stringy those suburban squirrels might be from dodging cars and pet cats! :raz:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I always look to A.D. Livingston in these matters. A.D. writes the culinary column for Gray's Sporting Journal. In his thin, but informative book on Cast Iron Cooking, he points out that "according to The Art of American Indian Cooking, the original Brunswick stew was made by the Powhatan, Chickahominy, and Cherokee tribes." The book also says that the name "Brunswick Stew" came from the British settlers at Jamestown. A.D. says the stew contained meat from small game and fowl, along with native American vegetables --- corn, beans, tomatoes and potatoes. His long, slow-cooked recipe for 8 - 10 people calls for 5 gray squirrels, 3 fox squirrels, 2 cottontails, or 2 tough pheasants, though his preference is cottontails or small marsh rabbits. He likes to fry salt pork to add flavor to this relatively bland dish, but drains off the fat. If you want the rest of his recipe, I'll send it to you, but he points out that there must be a thousand recipes for Brunswick Stew.

Richard

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"5 cans tomatoes to which 1 tsp baking soda is added" -- what's that about?

In another of the recipes there is a helpful note: "if you're worried about the tomatoes curdling when you put them into the stew, stir in about 1-2 tsp baking soda and allow them to set about five minutes before adding."

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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substitute freshly caught and skinned squirrel for rabbit

Any tips on catching squirrels? Looks like Varmint's gonna need 'em.

I'm still trying to decide if I can make it for the pickin. If I do, I volunteer to do all I can to run over as many squirrels as possible, and scoop them off the road, on the way down from Washington DC.

I do agree that this type of stew needs something rodenty. Rabbit, squirrel, or maybe muskrat. And, in keeping with the VD theme, these rodents should have syphilis for that extra kick.

Mmmm, rodents....

Edited by Al_Dente (log)

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Y'all could just bring down some of your pigeons, too.

This is exactly what I was talking about! Nasty flying vermin that eat garbage and turn it into bird guano. That's their whole purpose in the food chain. Ewwwww...033102horror_1_prv.gif

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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what is a pork side meat?

Side meat comes from the rear of the pig's belly, between where American bacon comes from and the back legs. It's usually cured with salt, but not smoked. It's fatty and sweet -- fatter than American bacon, but leaner than fatback. The word "unctuous" comes to mind.

ohhhhhhhhhh..........

i'll take a pound of unctous on the side :wub::wub:

thanks for the explanation dave

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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substitute freshly caught and skinned squirrel for rabbit

Any tips on catching squirrels? Looks like Varmint's gonna need 'em.

i use bow and arrow.

makes very little noise if you do it right and, since i live in new jersey, albeit the less populated northwest corner, the en con officers don't show up at your house.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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A lot of good suggestions in the prior posts… Just another item that you might want to consider is fresh whole artichokes. There are popular beef and artichoke stews that are pretty delicious. I have cooked some with baby artichokes, but never with full grown ones. Baby artichokes could be a better option for you, so they do not grab too much attention from other ingredients as full-grown ones would.

I do not know how good they would go with game, but an idea for the post.

Alex

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If you're looking for sweetness and texture, especially being sweet, and something to go with the smoke, I almost invariably put acorn squash in all of my stews. Also, ham hocks. Definitely ham hocks.

Sounds like a helluva party, though!

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Thanks for your input, everybody. I think I've nailed down the recipe for the first round.

This will have to be a control recipe -- the one against which all variations are measured, so there's not a lot of fancy stuff. Therefore, I haven't deviated much from my original ingredient list, though I'm going to add some seasoning and some baseline techniques, all based on contributions in this thread (thanks again!):

VD Stew, Mk I

1 3-1/2-pound chicken, cut up, including giblets

1 3-pound rabbit, cut up, including giblets

4 ounces pork sidemeat, chopped in 1/4-inch pieces

3 medium onions, medium chop (about 2-1/2 cups), divided

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup corn kernels

1 cup baby lima beans

1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, large dice

1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, undrained

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. fresh thyme

2 each fresh bay leaves

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1. Simmer the chicken parts, one cup of onion, one teaspoon salt and one bay leaf, in water to cover, for twenty minutes. Remove the chicken breasts and set aside. Add the rabbit pieces and all the giblets. Return to simmer for another hour. (As soon as they're cool enough to handle, remove meat from breasts and return bones to pot, reserving meat.)

2. Drain pot, reserving meat and stock separately, and discarding everything else. When cool, chop giblets and shred meat.

3. Cool stock, skim fat off, and reduce to about two quarts. Set aside.

3. In a large Dutch oven, cook side meat over medium heat until most of fat is rendered. Bloom cayenne in the fat, then saute celery, garlic and remaining onion until tender, about five minutes.

4. Add reserved stock, tomatoes, thyme and remaining bay leaf and simmer 20 minutes.

5. Add lima beans and potatoes, simmer another twenty minutes.

6. Add corn, meat and giblets, simmer a final twenty minutes, or until sufficiently thickened, stirring often to prevent scorching.

This should give us a good base for measuring improvements, and we'll examine these results for future directions. Remember, I'm not going for a basic Brunswick Stew, I'm shooting for a "f***ing awesome stew." Things I want to try in subsequent recipes, unless someone shouts me down:

- Since Varmint and I want to give the veggies equal billing, I'm going to start with vegetable stock instead of water.

- Substitute a ham hock (smoked or unsmoked?) for the side meat and use the chicken fat instead of rendered pork fat.

- Other veggie additions. I'm not much for okra or cabbage. Mushrooms, artichokes and squash, while interesting, will take us too far away from the roots of the dish. We should be guided by what's going to be available in North Carolina in early October. I'm open to ideas. Bell peppers? Green onions? Beans?

- All those additional seasonings: pepper sauce, lemon, Worcestershire. I'm thinking these could be presented as condiments, so people could add them if desired, but they wouldn't be part of the basic recipe.

Additional/alternative meats are problematic. I don't have a reliable supply for squirrel (unless suzilightning is willing to send some my way), coon or opossum. How do we feel about pork and/or ham? Or even beef? I'd like a small amount of gaminess in the finished dish.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Dave-

Sounds like a very strong beginning. I agree with everything you're doing. The recipe you have may be the perfect stew, but I wouldn't go to a veggy stock too soon. You can make a quick stock through the poaching of the meat. Adding some other red meat would work. Try some different forms of acid -- the tomatoes alone may be insufficient. This may be a situation where the acid and sugar (if added) balance each other and give the dish a bit more depth. However, because the slaw and pork will both have vinegar-based sauces, I'd be sure to avoid making the stew very acidic.

Looking forward to the first results.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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One of the problems with making a stew for over 100 guests is the cost. Rabbit, pheasant and other sorts of interesting woodland creatures would be tasty, but can be cost prohibitive in a hurry. This is simple food, and I have no desire to turn it into something exotic. Fucking tasty, yes. But it's still Brunswick Stew.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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. . . other sorts of interesting woodland creatures would be tasty, but can be cost prohibitive in a hurry . . .

Yeah, I noticed while I was at the market that elves are up to $13.99/lb. Might as well substitute veal scallops.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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. . . other sorts of interesting woodland creatures would be tasty, but can be cost prohibitive in a hurry . . .

Yeah, I noticed while I was at the market that elves are up to $13.99/lb.

Not to mention how tricky it is to get the little fuckers in the pot since they keep coming back to life and casting spells on you.

:laugh:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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