Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vegan Brunswick Stew

I was southern for two years.

Well, I lived in Georgia; so I am going to call myself southern. I lived in a great city called Athens, which is a liberal oasis in the middle of Georgia. My experience there was a really good thing for this Yankee boy who grew up in the south of Boston.

One thing about Georgia (and the south in general) is that its known for its food; think Paula Deen. Athens certainly had its fair share of barbecue and fried chicken, but it also had some of the most fabulous vegan and vegetarian food in the south. My favorite restaurant in the country, The Grit, it located right in downtown Athens.

I only knew Georgia as a vegetarian, so I never had any of the more traditional meat meals that Georgia is known for. One of them, Brunswick stew, happens to be one of husbands’ favorite. (Husband spent his formative years in GA, which is where we met)

Brunswick stew is traditionally a thick BBQ stew made up of chicken, beef, or pork and some vegetables. When husbands’ friend Beth came out with a vegan version of his favorite I knew we had to try it.

At first bite husband was instantly brought back to Georgia. He absolutely loves this stew and the fact that this recipe makes A LOT was a good thing. He ate it pretty much everyday for about a week. I have no other “original” version to compare it too, but I loved this stew regardless of it's origin.

Serve this with some vegan cornbread and you will be in love too.

So, “Glory, Glory to old Georgia,” this one’s for you!

Recipe after the jump…

Vegan Brunswick Stew
Source: Beth Pitchford, Seedstar

½ Cup Vegan Margarine (divided into 2 servings of ¼ cup)
1 ¾ cup catsup (ketchup)
¼ cup yellow mustard
¼ cup white vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ oz. & ¼ cup liquid smoke
1 oz. vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 oz. hot sauce (Frank’s or Crystal)
½ tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup dark brown sugar

3 cups potatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 14.5 oz cans vegan bouillon (vegetable stock)
2 packages of vegan meat (I used Yves beef crumbles, but you could use fake chicken too)
1 8.5 oz can early peas (English Peas or green peas)
1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 16 oz. bag of frozen lima beans, thawed
1 14.5 oz can creamed corn

Step 1: The Sauce

In a 2 qt. saucepan, over low heat, melt ¼ cup margarine then add 1 ¾ cups catsup, ¼ cup yellow mustard, and ¼ cup white vinegar

Blend until smooth, then add the 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, ½ oz. liquid smoke, 1 oz. Worcestershire sauce, 1 oz. hot sauce, and ½ tablespoon lemon juice.

Blend until smooth, then add ¼ cup brown sugar.

Stir constantly keeping heat at a simmer, not a boil, for 10 minutes.

This makes about 3 ½ cups of sauce. Set this aside, you will add it to the stew later.

Step 2: The Stew

the aerial shot...
In a good size stockpot, melt ¼ cup vegan margarine over low heat. Add the potatoes, onion, vegetable broth, and the fake meat.

Bring to a rolling boil, stirring until potatoes are nearly done. Add the cans of peas (with liquid), stewed tomatoes (with liquid), lima beans, creamed corn, the prepared sauce, and ¼ cup liquid smoke.

Slow simmer for two hours stirring occasionally. Yes, two hours! You will be happy you did…

Serve with cornbread and devour.

Chubby Vegan Notes
  • This soup makes about 1 gallon, so be prepared to be eating it for a while unless you have a big family.
  • There are a lot of ingredients in this stew, but don’t be scared. Most of the ingredients are easy to find and the reward is worth it.
  • This is a great thing to make on Sunday afternoon. The preparation takes about 25-30 minutes and then you can let it go and clean your house or read a book for two hours. You should check it every now and then for a little stir, but you won’t need to hover in the kitchen.
  • If you have never had Brunswick stew, there is a sweet and smoky flavor that is reminiscent of the best BBQ sauce you have never had. If you like BBQ at all, you will love it.
  • Originally I was going to use fake chicken strips in this, which is what the original recipe called for. Husband requested fake beef and I am happy he did. I think fake beef holds up better in this and has a better flavor. If you want to use fake chicken, by all means. You could also use tempeh or maybe seitan.


  1. I miss Georgia too! I loved the Black Bean chili nachos at the delicious! Also, the grilled cheese. I still put honey mustard on grilled cheese to take me back to the Grit!

    Hope all is well John!

  2. That stew looks tempting. Do you have a recipe? I have lived in Georgia (Atlanta) for over 6 years but never heard of that stew. I am missing out :-(

  3. @Elisabeth, you are missing out! Make sure to click "read more" for the recipe! There is a lot of ingredients, but its worth it!

    @Heather, I miss The Grit daily! ;) Golden Bowl is my FAVORITE!

  4. I will be making this tonight. Yumm! I didn't realize you used to live in the greatest place on Earth! I graduated from Athens in 2005 and still return for all of the football games. Sadly, I have never visited the Grit. It's on my list for my next visit.

  5. Sure did! Two years in Athens!

    Hope you enjoy this version of Brunswick Stew, it is really, really, REALLY good; especially if you like BBQ!

  6. Made this tonight for dinner. It was tasty but REALLY spicy! I kind of liked it better when I was tasting throughout the simmer time than when I finally ate a full bowl. I think maybe I let it simmer a little too long, and too much of the liquid went away. But overall very good recipe.

  7. Thank you for sharing this tasty recipe. It turned out fabulous, although admittedly I cut the amount of hot sauce in half to reduce heat to manageable levels. So happy and thankful for your sharing of this treat. :-)

  8. I grew up in the rural area just outside of Athens and always loved brunswick stew. It's a southern tradition and all families from the area have several different recipes and all think theirs is the best. I became a vegetarian as an adult and at family gatherings I always longed for the taste, but knew that there had to be a better way. This is the "true" two pot recipe that the meat filled/authentic version sticks to - don't let the other recipes fool you. Skip the hot sauce, or use it sparingly - brunswick stew is supposed to be rich and slightly sweet and yes, just a little bit greasy. Just a dab of Crisco wouldn't hurt this one bit and would add to the authenticity. One more note on Brunstew - the really old families still make it with chicken, pork and some use turtle or even squirrel! Meat eaters be warned - stick to this version and be wary of great aunt Mildred's version. You never know what a southerner will throw into a pot!


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