La What Now?

Since the 1960s, baseball teams and players have been publishing cookbooks. I collect them and try out some of the recipes that major leaguers have shared with their fans over the years. Photos, recipes and comments included.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Brunswick Stew by Catfish Hunter - from "'Catfish' Hunter's Southern Cookbook" (1987)


1 4 lb. beef roast, cooked and diced in small pieces
1 4 lb. hen, cooked, deboned and diced in small pieces
3 cans tomatoes, finely chopped
1 can tomato sauce
2 large onions, chopped
2 small green peppers, chopped
3/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup water
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. hot sauce
1 quart white shoepeg corn

Mix first eight ingredients in large saucepan.  Combine water and flour and stir until mixture is desired thickness and then stir in remaining ingredients.  Cook about 45 minutes or until all ingredients are done.  May be frozen.

Brunswick Stew is a meat-and-veggies classic from the south.  Countless variations can be found online.  Multiple states have a claim on being its originator, and no two recipes -- out of thousands -- are alike.

Here are the basics usually found in most iterations: Brunswick Stew starts with a thick, tomatoey base.  Add a choice of vegetables like beans, corn, okra, etc.  At its most traditional, the meat would be squirrel, possom or rabbit.  However most modern recipes will use some combination of chicken, beef or and/or pork.

Jim "Catfish" Hunter was a good ol' boy from North Carolina.  He spent his career pitching for the A's (1965-74) and the Yankees (1975-79), racking up five World Series rings in a Hall of Fame career.

Catfish was also a foodie.  After baseball, he published several cookbooks, including one for diabetics.  The gem of the Catfish collection is the one featured here: Catfish Hunter's Southern Cookbook.  This is one of those totally unique volumes that makes the baseball cookbook collection worthwhile.  It's got heaps of down home southern recipes to cook up every critter you can imagine: Squirrel Stew, Deerburger Soup, Baked Coon with Sweet Potatoes, Rabbit Salad, and even Fried Doves in Gravy (this is what it tastes like, when doves fry?).

The Brunswick Stew recipe that he offered up is very straightforward, using chicken and beef.  I made one substitution to give it a Canadian twist.  One of my dad's hunting buddies brought him some moose meat, which eventually made it to me.  It was a huge hunk of lean roast, perfect for a stew.  In it went, along with some chicken breast.  I couldn't find authentic shoepeg corn, so I used "regular" corn.  The rest of the recipe is essentially "throw all this stuff into a huge pot," and the result was a thick, red stew packed with meat and veggies.

I reckon all y'all would like this one, y'all.

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