If you are from Virginia or Georgia, the origins of Brunswick Stew could start a turf war. Virginians claim it was named for its’ own Brunswick County. Those in the state of Georgia insist it originated in the city of Brunswick, Georgia. With a big thank you to both locations, it doesn’t matter where it came from—it’s just warm hearty goodness in a bowl.
This Southern stew was originally made with squirrel or other small game and vegetables. Now you see recipes with a barbecue twist and a tomato base. It might have pulled pork, bacon or chicken. Mix it up with whatever ingredients you have on hand—it’s even a great way to use leftovers.
A slow cooker is ideal for melding all those flavors together and simmering into a delicious stew. Our recipe starts with bacon because it adds a smokiness to the mixture. If the slow cooker has a stovetop-safe cooking pot, take it right to the stove. Ceramic crocks will require you to cook the bacon in another pan, but then add all the ingredients together into the crock and let the slow cooker do the rest of the work. We used boneless chicken thighs. No chopping required, simply break the meat apart when serving. Use the vegetables we suggest or add your own favorites. This is a recipe you can easily adapt to whatever you have on hand.
Serve with cornbread or rolls and it’s a perfect winter meal no matter what side of the feud you are on.
Slow cooker Brunswick Stew
Yield: Serves 6-8
Cook Time: HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 7-8 hours
Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen
- 6 thick slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/4 cups chopped onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in quarters
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 package (12 ounces) frozen butter beans or baby lima beans
- 1 package (12 ounces) frozen whole kernel corn
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled, cut in large dice and cooked
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In stovetop-safe slow cooker cookware over medium-high, cook bacon until crisp. Reserve 2 tablespoons cooked bacon for garnish. Add onions, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are tender, about 3 minutes.
- Place cookware on slow cooker base. Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours or LOW for 7 to 8 hours.
- Using two forks, shred chicken just before serving. Top each serving with reserved bacon.
TEST KITCHEN TIPS: If using a slow cooker with a ceramic crock, follow Step 1 using a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Transfer ingredients to slow cooker crock and cook as directed.