Why This Recipe Works
Recipes for this hearty Southern stew differ from region to region, but there are a few commonalities—meat (pork, chicken, beef, or game) and vegetables simmered in a tomato-based liquid. All too often, however, this stew becomes bogged down by too many additions. Our aim was to make a simple yet complexly flavored version. To start, we built our stew around a homemade barbecue sauce; browning the ketchup we were adding to the sauce gave it extra depth. Lean chicken breasts dried out, but chicken thighs, which contain more collagen, yielded more-tender meat. Adding kielbasa sausage gave our stew its smokiness, and staggering the addition of potatoes, tomatoes, lima beans, and corn to the pot ensured that all the vegetables finished cooking at the same time.