Regional stews offer unique flavors

The first Brunswick stew I remember eating was long ago in Oconee County at a horse show. It was cooked in a huge black iron kettle over an open fire, and I was told it had been cooking since five in the morning. It was fabulous.
Although Burgoo is known as a Kentucky stew, there’s no law that says we can’t cook it in South Carolina. And we do. It’s always served at the Kentucky Derby.
There are as many different versions as there are cooks and it, along with these other recipes, can be fine-tuned and fiddled with until the perfect flavor is achieved.
Pine Bark Stew has no pine bark in it, but is often cooked over a fire started with chips of pine bark. It’s a delicious riverbank stew.
Frogmore stew has no frogs that we know of in it. I suppose you could throw in a few legs. It wouldn’t hurt a thing. This one is easy to stretch and is a favorite for the Fourth of July.
They’re good anytime and people usually love at least one of these. I like them all.

Frogmore Stew
6 quarts water
3/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning
2 pounds new red potatoes
12 ears corn – husked, cleaned and quartered
2 pounds hot smoked sausage links, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 pounds large fresh shrimp, unpeeled

Bring water and Old Bay Seasoning to boil in a large stockpot.
Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Add sausage and cook for 5 minutes more. Add corn and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes.
Drain immediately and serve.

Pine Bark Stew
1/2 lb. sliced bacon, chopped
5 lbs. white potatoes, chopped
2 lbs. onions, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 qt. water
3 lbs. dressed catfish
1 c. ketchup
4 c. cooked tomatoes, chopped

Fry bacon until crisp in large kettle. Add chopped vegetables with water. Simmer 3 hours, stirring frequently.
Add catfish (or other fish such as halibut or perch steaks) and continue simmering 30 minutes longer.
Before serving, stir in ketchup and add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 10-12.

Brunswick Stew
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 (3 pound) whole cooked chicken, deboned & shredded
1/2 cup hickory flavored barbeque sauce
1 cup ketchup
3 (14.5 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste (optional)
1 green bell pepper
3 (14.75 ounce) cans cream style corn

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and sauté the onions and celery until soft. Mix in the pork and beef, and cook until evenly browned. Do not drain.
Transfer the pork and beef mixture to a large stock pot over low heat. Stir in the shredded chicken, tomatoes and their liquid, ketchup, and barbeque sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Place the whole green pepper into the mixture.
Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 hours, or until thickened.
Stir the cream style corn into the stew mixture. Continue cooking 1 hour, or to desired consistency. Remove the green pepper; chop and return to the stew or discard.

12 cups water
1 (3-pound) fresh whole chicken, cut up
2 pounds stew beef, diced
1 pound cubed pork, rabbit or lamb
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 strips of bacon
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 (16-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained
1 cup diced peeled potato
2 cups chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 whole cloves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 whole bay leaf
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
1 (10-ounce) packages frozen okra, thawed
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen lima beans, thawed

Combine water, chicken, stew beef, salt and pepper in a large stockpot. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, turning it down to medium low when it reaches a simmer, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
Remove the chicken and beef; reserving the broth and skimming any fat from the surface. Remove and discard the skin and bones and discard. Dice the meat and return to the pot.
In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp, 7 or 8 minutes. Remove from heat and drain bacon, leaving the drippings in the skillet; crumble bacon and add to the stockpot. Add flour to the bacon drippings, return to burner and cook, stirring until smooth and starting to turn golden, 3 to 5 minutes; stir the resultant roux into the broth until dissolved.
Add tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, green bell pepper, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, cloves, garlic and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 1 hour; stirring often.
Remove the cloves and bay leaf. Add corn, okra and lima beans and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot.