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This is one of Spenser's favorites, as he noted in Double Deuce, Ch. 35. Susan had some trouble adding the flour to thicken it in that book, but he makes a batch at her house in Walking Shadow, Ch. 32.

There are as many versions of this stew as there are legends about its origins. I pasted one claim on the bottom of the page just for the fun of it.

Recipe for Brunswick StewEdit

  • 1 (1 1/2 - 2-lbs) broiler -fryer chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Paprika to taste
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 medium size onions, sliced
  • 1 medium size green pepper, diced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups whole kernel corn
  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen lima beans
  • 3 tbsp flour
  1. Sprinkle chicken with paprika.
  2. Heat butter in a large saucepan; add chicken and brown on all sides.
  3. Add onion and green pepper and cook until onion is transparent.
  4. Add water, tomatoes, parsley and sauces.
  5. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Add corn and lima beans; cook 20 minutes longer.
  7. Blend flour with a little cold water and gradually stir into stew; cook 10 minutes longer

(serves 4 to 6)


Feel free to substitute for locally available meats. One of the recipes I found listed the following:

  • 2 ea Rabbits
  • 4 ea Squirrels
  • 2 lb Venison

A History of Brunswick StewEdit

Call it a legend, a myth or even folk lore. But the people of Virginia believe it's true. Brunswick stew was officially served first in the Old Dominion. The setting was a rally in 1828 for the Democratic party candidate Andrew Jackson, held at the home of Dr. Creed Haskins on the banks of the Nottoway River.

Dr. Haskins, a member of the Virginia Legislature, wanted the gathering of his friends not only to be a successful political event but a convivial social function as well. So, Dr. Haskins asked his long-time cook, Jimmy Matthews, who had made this stew during their hunting trips, to whip up a giant batch of his stew, an original concoction of squirrel meat, onions, stale bread, and seasonings. The event was a success, Jackson was elected and Brunswick County's name was latched onto the stew as stories of its honest flavor and savory simplicity were carried to other counties by those who attended that famous meal.

But Dr. Haskins' friends did more than tell about Jimmy Matthews's marvelous Brunswick stew when they returned home. They copied it and used it as the focal point for their own functions. Soon, Brunswick stew could be tasted in numerous variations all across Virginia and bordering states at Church socials, family reunions, fire house picnics and every celebration from Fourth of July to fund raisers.

Today, Brunswick stew maintains its legendary status as a symbol of warmth, hearth and home. Here, in Virginia, we think of it as peculiarly our own, one of the many proud pieces we have added to the American puzzle. And even though other states may from time to time lay claim to being the home of Brunswick stew, you will know that, if the aroma says welcome and the taste says delicious, then the bowl of hospitality in front of you was born in Virginia.

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