Hand to Mouth

misadventures in eating

Hand to Mouth v. Crockpot — Fight-O!

with 2 comments

So today, while in the process of putting together my low country comfort food Brunswick stew, I broke a crockpot.

To be fair, it’s probably foolish to take the ceramic pot out of the crockpot body and place it on the range — especially if one of the burners is still carrying a lot of residual heat, but I have to say I never anticipated it to make a loud, hideous CRACK sound and then start making a low, hissing, fizzing noise as chicken stock and tomato sauce and and water started to leak out onto my range.

There was a long, colorful moment where I said out loud, “What the crap?” for all values of (crap = other four letter cuss words) and then I realized that something here had gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Just to make things more interesting, all the potholders are in the wash, so three rags and some dripping and cussing later, the rest of the liquid leaked out into my sink, leaving me to sullenly ladle chicken and lima beans and cubed red potatoes, bacon and onion and garlic and corn into my big soup pot and to sullenly refill it with chicken stock and tomato sauce and water.

So it’s cooking on low on my range now, and I’m going to have to sit up with it tonight like a particularly colicky child — but for those of you still possessing functioning crockpots, you may want to try this recipe if you want a low-maintenance, high flavor, feel-good, savory dinner.

Brunswick Stew

The origin of the recipe is hotly disputed, with various people from various places with counties of Brunswick claiming ownership, but ultimately the only truth we know for sure is that this used to be mountain food — scrappy Green Mountain boys food, made from squirrel or whatever other small game that could be found in the forest. These days, I’m avoiding having to pluck rodents by supplanting chicken.

3/4 lb. chicken, any of the leaner cuts, sliced thinly.
1/2 large yellow onion, diced.
1 large clove garlic, diced finely.
3 slices bacon, diced.
1 cup lima beans, frozen or fresh are both fine.
1 can creamed corn (can be less if desired).
3 large red potatoes, scrubbed clean and cubed, leaving skins on.
1 14 oz. can of chicken broth or chicken stock.
3 oz. of tomato paste (I recommend purchasing it in the tube for easy resealing).
3 c. water.
salt and pepper to taste.

(1) Combine bacon, onion, and garlic and saute on medium high heat until bacon has browned and released its drippings and onions and garlic and sweated out — be careful not to burn the garlic: you’ll recognize this process from the hideous bitter smell that fills your house.

(2) In a large soup pot or crock pot, combine water, chicken stock/broth, tomato paste and incorporate. Bring to a simmer and add bacon, onions, and garlic.

(3) Reduce heat and add potatoes, chicken, corn and lima beans and leave the pot on medium-low heat at a lazy simmer, stirring occasionally.

(4) Once all the chicken has cooked through — note this by the fact that (a) it is no longer translucent and (b) more than an hour has passed, the soup will thicken itself with starch from the potatoes and from the corn — cook to the consistency you like, nothing that longer cook time = thicker soup. Salt and pepper to taste. (A slight trick I like with this soup is to cook it most of the way and let it sit and cool for about an hour, the flavors will steep together and mellow one another out — and then to bring it up to hot again to finish the cooking process.)

(5) Serve hot with thick slices of bread or, Paula Deen style over rice. Enjoy!

And in conclusion: R.I.P, roommate’s crockpot, R.I.P.


Written by lshen

November 17, 2006 at 4:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. My flatmate nishatalitha *so* did this making casserole in my very favourite casserole dish, although I think she put it on the element on purpose. Cue a large bang and a whole lot of horrified shrieking, complete with meat juice running down the side of the stove and nishatalitha picking shards of crockery out of a gooey mass of chicken and root vegetables – I still miss the dish, but dinner that night actually turned out alright in the end.

    So in conclusion: you are not alone.


    November 17, 2006 at 6:43 am

  2. haha! sad about the crockpot but nice picture of it broken


    December 20, 2006 at 7:12 pm

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