Recipe courtesy of Mary Charles and Charlie Charles

Mary and Charlie Charles' Hopkins County Stew

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr
  • Prep: 2 hr
  • Cook: 2 hr
  • Yield: 10 plus gallons
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10 large frying chickens

2 gallons cream-style canned corn

3 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes

2 (46-ounce) cans vegetable juice (recommended: V-8 brand)

2 (46-ounce) cans tomato juice

20 pounds Irish potatoes, diced

8 pounds onions, diced

1 (2-ounce) bottle chili powder (recommended: Mexene brand)

1 small bottle seasoning salt (recommended: Morton brand)

1 cup sugar

Salt and pepper



  1. Cook chicken until tender in a 10-gallon (or larger) cast iron pot outdoors, over a hardwood fire. Use just enough water to cover the chicken as it simmers. When chicken is tender, remove it from pot and reserve broth. There should be about 4 gallons left after chicken is finished cooking. Bone, skin and dice chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Place diced chicken, cream-style corn, tomatoes, vegetable juice, tomato juice, potatoes, onions, chili powder, and seasoning salt into the pot of reserved broth and heat over open fire stirring frequently to prevent scorching until potatoes are tender. Add sugar, then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to simmer stew over fire pit until serving time.
  3. Transfer to individual bowls and melt a small amount of butter into stew just before serving. Serve with crackers or cornbread, cheddar cheese and dill pickles.