That longing calls out to me especially during this time of year, since we spent many a Thanksgiving Day walking up and down the autumn-leaf-strewn streets of Colonial Williamsburg, which in my estimation is one of the best places on the globe to enjoy traditional turkey dinner. Only one hour away from our front door when we lived in Richmond, Colonial Williamsburg was our "therapy spot"—an amazing, closeby getaway that some people travel from from farflung cities to experience.
My taste of All Things Virginia occurs in the form of Brunswick Stew, a typical Virginia dish. Competing claims exist about whether this recipe actually originated in Virginia or Georgia, but most versions are tomato-based and contain chicken and/or pork and various types of vegetables including lima beans, corn, and okra.
In my fall recipe files is a Brunswick Stew recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens website. It was ideal because it was a slow-cooker version and enabled me to use the very last of the okra brought in before the last of our garden's okra plants were felled about a week ago. One big ladleful of this steaming stew and I'm transported back to old Thomas Jefferson's hangout in a city where, for the visitor, time stands still. Thank you, CW, for the Thanksgiving memories!
3 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
2 pounds meaty chicken pieces, skinned
1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham (8 ounces)
1 (14 1.2-ounce can diced tomatoes), or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
2 cups sliced fresh okra
1 cup fresh or frozen baby lima beans
1 cup fresh or frozen whole-kernel corn
In a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker place onion. Top with chicken and ham. In a small bowl combine the undrained tomatoes, broth, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, thyme, pepper, and hot pepper sauce; pour over chicken and ham. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Remove meat from chicken bones; cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Return chicken to slow cooker; discard bones. Add okra, lima beans, and corn to crockery cooker. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Cover and cook 45 minutes or more until vegetables are tender. Makes 6-8 servings.