Johnsie Vaught’s Brunswick Stew

When you’re the wife of a football coach, you often have to feed a crowd that includes a lot of big guys, and if you’re the wife of Johnny Vaught, you want a Southern recipe that everybody loves. Such is the case with Brunswick stew, a favorite dish for gatherings in the South since Daniel Boone barged through the Cumberland Gap. Johnsie’s recipe lacks the game meats many consider requisite for a Brunswick, and the inclusion of pasta and rice would likely by that same crowd constitute nothing short of heresy. But her nine yards stew is typical of those often sold for a dollar a bowl for fund-raising at small-town events—such as football games—in the rural South of her day to provide new uniforms or equipment either for the school’s sports teams or marching band. By my reckoning, this hefty, carb-heavy recipe could easily feed either 25 people or the Rebel offensive line at one sitting.

1 large hen
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. lean ground pork
½ lb. butter
1 large bottle catsup
2 cans tomatoes
2 cans peas (green)
2 cans corn (cream style)
1 package spaghetti
1 cup rice
½ bottle tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook hen until tender, remove from broth, skin and bone, chop the meat. Return chicken to broth, add beef and pork. Cook for about 30 mins. Add butter, catsup, tomatoes, and simmer 1 hr. Then add spaghetti and rice. Cook 1 hr. Add peas and corn, being careful it doesn’t stick. (Note: cans are 15 oz., 16 oz. pkg. spaghetti)