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Brunswick Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings


  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 6 pounds stewing chicken, or large roaster, quartered
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 slices bacon, diced
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 medium new potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 12 ounces tomatoes, peeled, undrained
  • 1 cup dried baby lima beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 dried red pepper, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup okra, fresh, halved
  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh

    Cornmeal Dumplings:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or thawed frozen
  • 2/3 cup milk


  • Combine first 6 ingredients in small piece of cheesecloth and fasten securely with a string.
  • Add bag to an 8-quart kettle with the chicken broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken, giblets, and 1 chopped onion.
  • Simmer, covered, until the chicken is tender, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Skim fat from stock (this is easier if refrigerated for several hours).
  • Remove chicken; discard skin and bones and cut meat into bite-size pieces.
  • Put chicken meat into a container and refrigerate until ready to add to the stew.
  • Cook bacon until crisp in medium skillet over medium heat.
  • Remove with slotted spoon to paper towels; drain well.
  • Add the bacon to stock.
  • Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat and place skillet over high heat.
  • Add remaining onion and saute quickly until lightly browned.
  • Add to stock along with potatoes, tomatoes, lima beans, tomato paste, red pepper, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine.
  • Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and simmer until beans are tender, about 40 to 60 minutes.
  • Stir in reserved chopped chicken, okra, and corn.
  • Bring stew to simmer, then drop dumpling batter in by tablespoonfuls.
  • Cover pot securely and simmer until dumplings are puffed and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

    Cornmeal Dumplings:
  • Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar in medium bowl and mix well.
  • Cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • Using a fork, stir in corn kernels, then add milk and stir just until moistened; do not overmix.
  • Add to stew and cook as directed.