This healthy Brunswick stew is just like the southern classic, but made with simple and wholesome ingredients – no ketchup or BBQ sauce needed!
Brunswick stew is a Virginia classic, but it isn’t something I grew up eating. I was first introduced to this thick stew when I met Isaac in college. He and his roommates loved Mrs. Fearnow’s and they would stock up whenever it was on sale. Truth be told, Isaac still likes it and there’s a can in our pantry right now.
Staring into the pantry one night I saw the yellow can and finally decided I needed to make a homemade healthy Brunswick stew for him.
Origin of Brunswick Stew
After a little research I found that Brunswick stew likely originated in Brunswick, Virginia during the 19th century and it was originally made with squirrel meat.
I looked at a couple recipes online for inspiration, but ultimately ended up using the ingredient list from a can of Mrs. Fearnow’s as my guide because it’s short and overall pretty wholesome. Some of the recipes online called for cups of ketchup, chili sauce, BBQ sauce and creamed corn. I’m not a fan of using a ton of packaged products (because they usually have a lot of added sugar and preservatives) so this recipe skips those things.
The only packaged sauces you’ll need are worcestershire and hot sauce. Although if you decide you want to add a little BBQ sauce, you can use my homemade healthy BBQ sauce recipe.
If you’re looking for a warm and comforting meal, I highly recommend making a batch of this healthy Brunswick stew. It’s loaded with flavor and truly something the whole family will enjoy!
Shredded Chicken for This Stew
As you’ll notice, the recipe calls for cooked shredded chicken. I did this purposefully so that you’re able to use up leftover shredded chicken you already have on hand, but you can also make a quick batch using my slow cooker shredded chicken recipe or making shredded chicken using a rotisserie chicken. Any and all of the above will work!
Heat oil over medium heat in a large casserole pan/dutch oven. Add onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant and soft.
Add in carrots, celery and potatoes, canned tomatoes, broth, corn, lima beans, worcestershire sauce, parsley, bay leaf, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat simmer for 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally. Remove bay leaf and add in shredded chicken, stir to combine and cook an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is heated through. If stew seems too thin, you can mash up some of the potatoes with a fork to create a thicker broth. If the stew is too thick, you can add more chicken broth or water, starting with 1/2 cup.
Once stew is ready to serve, place in bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with hot sauce so everyone can add as much or as little spice as they like.