This Southern-style stew is really a meal in itself — that and some bread will satisfy the heartiest of appetites.
12 cups water
1 (3-pound) fresh whole chicken, cut up
2 pounds stew beef, diced
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 strips of bacon
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 (16-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained
1 cup diced peeled potato
2 cups chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 whole cloves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 whole bay leaf
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
1 (10-ounce) packages frozen okra, thawed
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen lima beans, thawed
- Combine water, chicken, stew beef, salt and pepper in a large stockpot. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, turning it down to medium low when it reaches a simmer, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
- Remove the chicken and beef; reserving the broth and skimming any fat from the surface. Remove and discard the skin and bones and discard. Dice the meat and return to the pot.
- In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp, 7 or 8 minutes. Remove from heat and drain bacon, leaving the drippings in the skillet; crumble bacon and add to the stockpot. Add flour to the bacon drippings, return to burner and cook, stirring until smooth and starting to turn golden, 3 to 5 minutes; stir the resultant roux into the broth until dissolved.
- Add tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, green bell pepper, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, cloves, garlic and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 1 hour; stirring often.
- Remove the cloves and bay leaf. Add corn, okra and lima beans and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Makes 12 servings.