I still can't believe it. I *actually* went to the store and I bought a piece of warthog. Not many people will have the balls to pick up a packet of warthog meat, nevertheless actually buy the thing. I don't even have to mention the actual cooking and eating part do I?
As the cashier so eloquently put it (with slightly raised eyebrows I might add) "Is it for dog food?"
My answer? A slightly embarassed "No".
But why should I feel embarrassed? I should feel heroic for going where no (sensible) (wo)man has gone before! To infinity and beyond! Or something like that anyway... In all seriousness though I did have a little bit of "WhatTheHellAmIDoing" going on while heading home with my warthog tucked securely in a plastic shopping bag. The whole experience seemed a bit surreal and the smell of the raw warthog meat when I removed it from it's wrapping wasn't exactly enticing. It didn't smell bad, but it sure did smell.... odd. Wild is probably a better word. Which is to be expected. It is after all a wild animal.
I have a very vivid imagination and it didn't help that I was picturing a crazed warthog face the whole time while chopping the meat up. Thankfully the crazed warthog stayed locked in my mind though...
So you're probably dying to know: Why Warthog? Why it's for the Daring Cooks challenge of course! You didn't think I was crazy enough to attempt something like this of my own volition, did you?
The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.
Wolf gave us some history on Brunswick Stew:
"Brunswick Stew has a long, and oft debated history. Brunswick, Georgia claimed that the first Brunswick Stew was created there in 1898. There is, at the Golden Isles Welcome Center on Interstate 95, a bronzed stew pot with a plaque proclaiming this fact.
However, Brunswick, Virginia claims that the first Brunswick Stew was created there by a camp cook named Jimmy Matthews in 1828, for a hunting expedition led by Dr. Creed Haskings, a member of the Virginia State Legislature for a number of years.
Every year, there is an Annual Brunswick Stew Cookoff that pits ‘Stewmasters’ from both Virgina and Georgia against their counterparts, and takes place every October in Georgia. The Brunswick Stewmasters recipe says *exactly* what is used in competion stews, and states that 'Adding any additional ingredient(s) will disqualify the stew from being an original Brunswick Stew.'
However, most agree that, Brunswick stew is not done properly 'until the paddle stands up in the middle.'”
The stew was actually pretty easy to make. You know once I got rid of the crazed warthog image... It's a lengthy process sure, but involves very little legwork on the cook's part. You just brown all the meat, add the stock, potatoes and carrots, then cook for about an hour and a half. Then you add the rest of the ingredients and cook for another half an hour. Simple.
The end result? A flavourful hodgepodge of ingredients that will happily sate an empty belly. Even if mine wasn't thick enough to hold a paddle standing in the middle...
Brunswick StewAdapted from The Lee Bros. Southern CookbookServes 6 - 8
The original recipe calls for rabbit, but I opted to add a little South African flavour instead. Warthog is very similar in taste and appearance to ostrich, though somewhat drier. I have no idea what part of the warthog I used, but it was a longish flat piece with no bones in, I suppose you could call it a fillet.You can substitute the warthog with any other venison (or use rabbit if you're able to find it where you live).
3 tbsp olive oil50g bacon, roughly chopped750g chicken pieces on the bone, skinned350g warthog*, cut into chunks
1 tbsp salt4 cups chicken stock4 potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks3 carrots, peeled & cut into chunks
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes1 bay leaf1 1/2 cups whole corn kernels (drained if using canned)2 cups butterbeans (drained if using canned)2 tins whole tomatoes in puree, drained (reserve juice for another use)
tabasco sauce, to taste (optional)
1. Dry-fry bacon over high heat in a large enough saucepan to accomodate your stew. Remove when browned, and set aside.
2. Add half the olive oil to the saucepan and sear (brown) the chicken pieces on all sides, then remove and set aside with the bacon. Repeat the process with the warthog pieces. Carefully salt the seared meats.
3. By now you should have sticky brown bits in the bottom of your pan. Add the chicken stock, stirring to loosen up all the flavourpacked brown bits, then allow to reduce by at least half.
4. Return your meat to the pan, adding the rest of the stock, as well as the potatoes, carrots, onion, chilli flakes and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover with lid, allowing the stew to simmer for about an hour and a half. The chicken should be falling off the bone and the warthog and vegetables should be quite soft.
5. Using two forks, shred the chicken and warthog finely. I did this in the saucepan, but you might find it easier to remove the meat first. If you removed the meat, add it back to the pan.
6. Add the corn, butter beans and tomatoes to the stew, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and cover with a lid. Cook for another half an hour to forty-five minutes. Taste, adjusting seasoning if needed and optionally add tabasco sauce to your liking.
Serve as is or with rice or bread to mop up the juices.