Don’t let the winter chill keep you stewing inside all day. Preparing a tasty stew in your outdoor kitchen is as easy as making sure you have the right pot and ingredients on hand.
Brunswick stew has long been regarded as a fall tradition, with roots dating back to the early 1800s. In the South, you can find regional recipes with slightly different flavor variations from state to state. One thing remains the same, however—Brunswick stews are social meals, cooked outdoors in oversized pots, with tons of friends and family around to enjoy them. We’re borrowing from the Brunswick stew tradition and offering up several recipes, which can all be prepared outdoors.
To start each stew, you’ll need a hot grill, a very large pot (cast iron preferred), and a group of friends and family to enjoy your cooking.
One of the easiest stews to start with is the Brunswick Stew. This version from What’s Cooking America was considered a hunter’s stew among the early settlers of the Southern Appalachians. Add or subtract beef, pork, chicken, bacon, hog jowls, and different veggies to create your own version.
What You Need:
- 1 (4-pound) baking chicken, cut into pieces
- Water or chicken broth/stock
- 4 pounds ground pork
- 2 cups chopped onions, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and divided
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- Coarse salt and black pepper
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen lima beans (optional)
- 36 ounces tomato juice or 1 (38-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
- 4 ounces tomato ketchup
- 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or to taste
- 1 cup red wine, preferably Rhone style
What To Do:
- In a large pot over medium heat, simmer the chicken pieces in the water or chicken broth for approximately 40 to 60 minutes or until very tender; remove from heat and let cool.
- Once chicken is cool, debone and finely chop the meat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the ground pork until halfway done. Add 1 cup chopped onions, garlic, chili powder, thyme, cayenne pepper, and a generous sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Continue to cook until the meat is well browned, stirring every few minutes to break up any lumps. Add the finely chopped chicken and stir to combine.
- Add the lima beans, tomato juice or chopped tomatoes, ketchup, corn kernels, Tabasco sauce, and red wine; let simmer for 90 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup chopped onions and remaining chopped garlic; let simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste for salt (adjust if needed).
- Remove the fat (and discard) before serving.
White Bean Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Kale
This plant-based stew is high in flavor and fiber. It’s the tasty creation of chef Nathan Lyon and is a great way to get in a healthy and warm meal, without spending lots of time cooking. Dial the spiciness up or down depending on your taste.
What You Need:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, peeled and diced small (2 cups)
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced small (2 cups)
- 6 large celery stalks diced small (2 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 large sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 large sweet potato (1 pound), peeled and diced medium
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/3-pound dinosaur (lacinato) or curly kale leaves, stems discarded, chopped roughly (4 packed cups)
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
What To Do:
- Add the olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery to a small pot and set over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften and lightly caramelize.
- Add the cumin and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook for one minute.
- Add the thyme, sweet potato, tomatoes, stock, beans, and kale. Stir.
- Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and kale is tender.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Discard the thyme sprigs. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
A total departure from the white bean stew, this hearty concoction from Taste of Home has the meat lover at heart. It’s meant to be prepared with wild game, but you can substitute beef, lamb, and pork if needed.
What You Need:
- 6 tablespoons animal fat (pork, chicken, or beef will do)
- 1 1/2 pounds venison stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 pounds wild boar stew meat, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
- 4 cups 1/2-inch diced white onion
- 3 cups 1/2-inch diced carrots
- 2 cups 1/3-inch diced celery
- 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 4 cups marble potatoes, or larger potatoes cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups red wine
- 8 cups brown chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 rosemary sprigs
- 3 thyme sprigs
What To Do:
- In a medium pot over high heat, bring the fat to the point where it’s just about to start smoking. Add half the meat and sear well. Gently remove the meat from the pot, making sure to leave the oil behind, then add the second half of the meat and again sear well. Remove that portion of the meat and set aside.
- With the pan still on high heat, add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and sauté for about five minutes. Season with salt. Lower the heat to medium-high and continue cooking for another five to 10 minutes, getting some color on the veggies and creating nice browned bits on the bottom of the pan
- Add the tomato paste and cook for three minutes. Then add the meat back into the pan and sauté for three more minutes, evenly coating everything with the tomato paste. Add the wine and cook for two minutes to burn off some of the alcohol. Add the stock, bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
- Cook for 40 to 45 minutes, and then add potatoes. Cook for 15 more minutes; test to make sure the meat and the potatoes are tender. Serve with a hearty hunk of bread, cornbread, or a biscuit.
Root Vegetable Stew
A twist on the classic beef stew, this version from the Food Network combines beef with trendy root vegetables to create a flavorful standby for cold winter days. Serve with crusty bread around a roaring fire.
What You Need:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 pounds beef stew meat
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 can or bottle of beer
- 4 cups beef broth, more as needed
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 carrots, roughly sliced
- 2 parsnips, roughly sliced
- 1 small turnip, roughly sliced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, optional
What To Do:
- Heat the oil and butter in a pan and brown the beef. Remove the beef from the pan, throw in the garlic and onions and cook until softened, about three minutes. Pour in the beer, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, sugar, paprika, salt, and some pepper. Then return the beef to the pan, cover, and simmer on low heat until the meat is very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If the liquid level gets too low, add more broth as needed.
- Add the carrots, parsnips, and turnips and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is reduced, about 30 minutes.
- If the stew is still too liquidy, remove a cup of cooking liquid from the pan and stir in the flour. Add the flour mixture back into the pan and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes until the stew is thick. The meat should be very tender; if it’s tough, let it continue to cook.
- To finish, add the parsley and stir through the stew.
Warm up with a hearty stew and spend the day around your firepit enjoying the mingling smells of crisp winter air, wood smoke, and delicious food. Make sure to invite over some friends and family to show off your stew-pendous cooking skills.