Jim Sanders Georgia Brunswick Stew
By Doc Lawrence
ATLANTA. He was the unchallenged “father of fine wine” not only in Atlanta but the entire Southeast region. A French-trained chef, Jim Sanders stayed true to his Southern roots, producing a cookbook pairing the great dishes of the South (his recipes) with the great wines of France. No counterpart exists today.
On select holiday weekends, Sanders served his barbecue pork along with his ancient recipe Georgia Brunswick Stew, something he learned during his childhood days in Covington, Georgia. It is the traditional accompaniment to genuine Deep South barbecue and his recipe is one of the most original in America.
1 four-pound baking chicken
4 pounds ground pork
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1-tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup red wine, preferably Rhone style
3 to 4 tablespoons bacon drippings
36 ounces tomato juice
4 ounce tomato catsup
3 cups cut corn
Kosher salt and black pepper
Boil the chicken until it is very tender, cool, de-bone and chop the meat finely. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, braise the pork until half done. Add half the chopped onions, one chopped garlic clove, chili powder, thyme, cayenne pepper and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper. Continue to braise until the meat is well browned, stirring every few minutes to break up any lumps and combine with chicken. Add the tomato juice and catsup and simmer for 11/2 hours. Add the rest of the chopped onions, another chopped garlic clove and simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste for salt and spoon off the fat before serving.
Beaujolais goes well with Brunswick stew. It does not fight the spices and it has a lot of refreshment value. You can’t go wrong with sparkling wine. My personal favorite is Sonoma Brut from Gloria Ferrer.
Over three decades, Jim Sanders taught thousands in his wine classes in Atlanta, a rich mixture of governors, members of Congress, physicians, Georgia Supreme Court Justices and regular men and women. Although a product of the Deep South, Jim was more French than anything. After World War II-he was wounded five times in the Pacific campaigns-he went to France, bicycled the countryside and found his passion in wine and food. He learned to cook in Lyon and Paris and met Armand Cottin, president of Labourie-Roi and through this brotherly friendship, developed his own cuvee of 179 Burgundies garnering numerous awards. Each day, in the rear of his retail wine shop in Atlanta’s Buckhead, Sanders served most anyone who came in wonderful dishes he prepared along with pours from countless bottles of perfectly paired wines. There was no charge.
Jim’s wines, all under his JSanders label, are sold exclusively in Atlanta’s Sherlock’s Wine Merchants.
On the eve of his death in 1999, Jim Sanders entrusted me with his priceless wine notes, lectures, stories and recipes. His one-of-a-kind cookbook with the wine-pairing chart is being republished and will be available soon.
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