Fall, stew and baking

October 16, 2018

Brumwick stew. Good stuff, and easy to make.

Yeah, yeah. It’s been nearly two weeks. I’m sorry. Consider due apologies and excuses made. But I’m in the kitchen today, yes, I am. 

I am cooking dinner for 25 at church tonight. The menu is Brunswick stew, corn muffins, cheese and bacon muffins, sandwiches, and, if I get to it, brownies and cookies.

Multigrain bread for sandwiches.

The toll so far is the stew is ready to go (honesty, here: I made it last week because I was in the notion for it, and with an eye toward keeping it for tonight); the corn muffins, the cheese muffins in the oven as we speak, two loaves of multigrain bread rising in the pans as we speak (or, if you want to get technical, as I type), and the stuff set out to make the brownies and cookies. I figure brownies are simple enough to make, and shouldn’t take long, and the spiced molasses cookies look good and look like they’ll taste like fall.

Beer cheese muffins with bacon.

I love Brunswick stew. It’s one of the highest and best uses for leftover pulled pork barbecue, and I love the added zing that the addition of barbecue sauce gives it. My only complaint with every recipe I’ve tried is that it’s too meaty, so I’m solving that in this batch by adding an extra jar of tomatoes, an extra couple of cups of chicken broth, and an extra package each of frozen limas and corn to thin out the barbecue and chicken. Here’s the recipe I’ve settled on:

  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • 5 cups water
  • salt and pepper
  • two cups shreddded and/or chopped pork barbecue
  • 1 quart canned tomatoes (two cans diced)
  • 2 1/2 cups barbecue sauce of your choice (Sweet Baby Rays works well, as does KC Masterpiece)
  • 2 12-oz bags frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 2 12-oz bags frozen limas
  • 2 cups cubed potatoes
  • 2 cups sliced carrots

Poach the chicken thighs in the water with salt and pepper until done. Pull out the chicken thighs, reserving the broth, and remove the skin. Pull the meat off the bones and shred/chop it.

Add all the ingredients to the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a fast simmer, and cook until potatoes and carrots are done, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Pretty simple. REAL good.

I had a bowl of it and stashed the rest in the outside fridge. As noted earlier, it was too meaty. Today I pulled it out, added the additional tomatoes, veggies and broth, and a few more potatoes and carrots, and mixed it all together. Then I set the pot out in the car,  because it’s cold out there anyway, and it’ll wait there until I get it to church to warm it up this afternoon.

Corn muffins are fairly generic — Martha White cornmeal mix, with a couple of eggs, bacon grease, buttermilk, about a cup of leftover creamed corn, and a cup or so of grated cheese. Meant to put in a can of chopped green chiles, and forgot it. No matter. Some smoked paprika would not have gone amiss; forgot that, too.

The cheese and bacon muffins entertain me because they’re a beer muffin, and it just amuses me to serve beer muffins at a church function, nevermind the Methodists don’t mind if you drink long as you don’t get knee-walking drunk.  They’re a riff on a recipe for Irish Beer Cheese Bread I found somewhere and thought sounded good.

I changed the cheeses a bit to accommodate what I had in the fridge (extra sharp cheddar, a couple of other dibs of cheese that I’m not sure what they were, and some smoked Gouda) and added some crumbled bacon because it was there. I used a bottle of Newcastle brown ale, since my favorite Green Flash Double Stout is no longer available in these parts. And I baked it in muffins, not a loaf, for ease of serving.

Note: Have an extra muffin tin ready. It’ll make 15 or so. 

Update: the muffins are out of the oven and the harvest grains bread is in. I cooked mine a little browner than I might have done, but, oh, well. Now on to brownies and pimiento cheese. I have a feeling the spiced cookies may not get made. But there’ll be plenty for you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em to eat if you come tonight.

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