Sunday, January 19, 2014

Brunswick Stew

It all started with a farmhouse dinner with the girls at home. We prepared a meal from the farm that had been raised on the farm and picked and prepared with our own hands. The centerpiece for dinner that night was a 14 pound roasted turkey.
We celebrated being together with our Alaskans and time spent together over the meal of turkey, oven roasted potatoes, green beans and corn casserole, spiced sweet pickles and later apple pie.

Karyn's visit from Alaska with her two darling girls was coming to an end and we wanted to roast one of our pasture raised turkeys during her stay. If you haven't tried a farm raised turkey, it is well worth the investment. The meat is so tender, flavorful and delicious. Sharing it with family is precious. At the end of the meal, it looked like we hadn't begun to eat the turkey! So, we enjoyed leftovers in the following days.  Including a soup broth made with giblets, root vegetables, and homemade noodles.

After turkey sandwiches and various other leftovers had been enjoyed, the turkey carcass and plenty of good meat was stewed in a large pot for about one and half hours.  Added to the stock was garlic, a sprig of rosemary, salt and pepper. Once the meat was falling from the bones, it was removed from the pot.

You can see there is still a large amount of meat remaining and it was perfect for the recipe my mom had sent along with a charming article on the history or the mystery of Brunswick Stew. Just in time for the stewed leftover turkey. Traditional Brunswick Stew uses chicken, but the turkey is a great stand in! The meat was very moist and tender and shredded easily off of the bones.

A quart of garden potatoes was added and mashed, a quart of crushed tomatoes with basil was added, a pint of sweet corn added and even some green peas. True Brunswick Stew also has butter beans or baby lima beans, but we were out of them at dinner time, so we just made it all work without the beans.  There was also a whole onion sauteed in butter with more garlic added to the stew.  Then the seasoning of salt, pepper, and your favorite spices which may include some cayenne pepper or a dash of chili powder topped off the rich, thick soup.

Brunswick soup is a full meal in a bowl. Part of this large pot of soup will be frozen and the rest will be eaten through the week. It is wonderful all by itself and fun to eat with cheese toast or french bread and butter. Remember, the kind of meat you add is up to you because in the distant and beginning history of Brunswick Stew, squirrel meat was rumored to have started it in Brunswick County, Georgia or was it Brunswick County, Virginia?! The tradition continues with Brunswick Stew in the farmhouse! ~ Enjoy ~
PS Thanks, Mom xo!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Winter Blues

The best winter blue eggs we've seen! Our severe snow and ice storm in December was very hard on the hens. They had plenty of shelter and food and water, but the many days of cold really wore them down. Three days ago two of our hens finally started laying eggs again. The light blue and a soft green blue egg are the results of the hardiest hens.

Look who is standing watch! Yes, our friend Chicken Hawk is back and taking up residence so boldly on top of the barn. This particular photo was about 4 in the afternoon as the light is starting to get low enough to call the hens into rooster.  The water buckets that they drink from before roosting are directly below the hawk.

The chickens were locked in early to the coop so that our hawk had to find some thing else to eat for the night. She flew all over the farm, landing in walnut trees watching and waiting, but we were watching too!

The only think caught tonight was a few photos of this magnificent menace to chickens! So the winter blues have struck for the hawk. We can only hope that the hawk moves on soon.  The hens will remain under protection until the red tailed hawk develops an appetite for something els. We don't want to risk losing any chickens or beautiful blue eggs!