Recipes from the Heart: Georgia Brunswick Stew- A Deep South Original

There is a mystique about Brunswick Stew: Did it originate in Georgia or Virginia? Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in her classic book, Cross Creek Cookery concluded that it’s German in origin. We’ll settle everything by proclaiming it to be very American with a Southern accent.

The most authentic recipe I have came from Atlanta’s Jim Sanders, the unchallenged “father of fine wine” not only in Georgia but the entire Southeast region. A French-trained chef, Jim Sanders stayed true to his Southern roots, producing a cookbook pairing the great dishes of the South (his recipes) with the great wines of France. No counterpart exists today.

Sanders regularly served his treasured Georgia Brunswick Stew to customers who gathered in his legendary wine shop near the Georgia Governor’s Mansion. He entrusted me with this and other recipes prior to his death. It’s comfort food, easy to prepare and has some reassuring properties leaving you satisfied and optimistic.

Brunswick Stew



1 four-pound baking chicken

4 pounds ground pork

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1-tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon thyme

1 tablespoons cayenne pepper

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup red wine, preferably Rhone style

3 to 4 tablespoons bacon drippings

36 ounces tomato juice

4 ounce tomato catsup

3 cups cut corn

Kosher salt and black pepper


Boil the chicken until it is very tender, cool, de-bone and chop the meat finely. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, braise the pork until half done. Add half the chopped onions, one chopped garlic clove, chili powder, thyme, cayenne pepper and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper. Continue to braise until the meat is well browned, stirring every few minutes to break up any lumps and combine with chicken. Add the tomato juice and catsup and simmer for 11/2 hours. Add the rest of the chopped onions, another chopped garlic clove and simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste for salt and spoon off the fat before serving.


Beaujolais goes well with Brunswick stew. It does not fight the spices and it has a lot of refreshment value. Otherwise, fairly heavy red wines like Cotes du Rhone complement the spice and flavors nicely as do several Italian reds like Chianti, Bardolino and Montepulciano



Old school journalism describes the style and stories produced by Doc Lawrence. “In everything I do,” he says, “there is a beginning, middle and an end.” One of the top travel writers in the country, Doc is steeped in the heritage of the deep south. Traveling the back roads from Texas to Virginia and on down to Key West inspires stories about local food and wine preferences, community theater, folk art and music often leading to clues for a good story. Heroes include Faulkner, Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ralph Ellison, Dorothy Parker and Willie Morris. An Atlanta native, Doc keeps a well-stocked wine cellar and bar and two outdoor grills. He enjoys entertaining and believes that the greatest challenge for a writer is to keep searching for a higher life. |
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