We asked stewmaster John D. Clary to reduce the recipe, but 5 quarts was as far down as he wanted to go -- from his original 10-quart recipe. "It freezes well. You are going to be happy to have it left over," he said. "Most of our first-time customers regret not buying more."
Be sure to prep all the vegetables ahead of time and place the amounts of seasonings in small piles or bowls, so you can stir the pot without stopping. Continuous stirring is necessary for the thick consistency to call it a stew and not a soup, Clary says. And his stew does not contain hot sauce, so people young and old can enjoy it. The flavor is even better 2 or 3 days later, he says.
Serve with cornbread or biscuits.
Yield: Makes about 5 quarts
- 2 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 3 ounces fatback, finely chopped
- 2 pounds white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes or french fry-size sticks
- 1 1/4 pounds large yellow onions, coarsely chopped (about 2)
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper, such as Old Mansion brand (may substitute cayenne pepper)
- 4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, plus their juice
- 5 3/4 cups canned lima beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 1/2 cups canned white shoepeg corn, rinsed and drained
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) canola oil margarine
Place the chicken and fatback in a large pot and cover with water; bring to a boil and cook for about 1 hour, until the chicken starts to fall apart. Add the potatoes, onions and one-quarter of the seasonings; return to a boil and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Add the tomatoes and one-quarter of the seasonings; return to a boil and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes; add the lima beans and one-quarter of the seasonings; return to a boil and cook for about 1 hour, until the beans are no longer firm; use a potato masher along the way to make a thicker stew. Add the corn, margarine and remaining seasonings; cook, stirring, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Adapted from stewmaster John D. Clary of Lawrenceville, Va.
Tested by Anne Kornblut.
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