A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 18, 2006
Hopkins County Stew

Hopkins County, Texas created its famous Hopkins County stew sometime about 1900. There are many recipes for it and an annual competition is held.

Sulphur Springs News-Telegram
Record crowd expected for Saturday’s World Champion Stew Contest
By BILL ELLIOTT | Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce President

Sept. 14, 2006—More than 110 cooking teams have registered for the 36th annual “World Champion Hopkins County Stew Contest” which is set for this Saturday beginning at dawn.  Stew Committee Chairman Keith Shurtleff and his committee have organized another great stew event, and we expect a record crowd to show up to consume the more than 1,100 gallons of this local delicacy.

Hi Chuck: You are remembering the world famous Hopkins County Stew. Here’s the authentic recipe. If you think it needs macaroni, put it in near the end of the cooking process so it does not overcook. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Hopkins County Stew
2 pounds chicken parts, preferably breasts or thighs
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
4 medium baking potatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
16-ounce can cream style corn
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Place chicken, stock and salt in large pot. Bring to simmer and simmer until the chicken is done. Remove chicken from the stock and cool.

Bring stock back to simmer. Add the potatoes and onion, simmer until the potatoes are tender. In the meantime, remove the chicken from the bone and shred or dice. Discard skin and bone.

Return the chicken to the pot along with the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, paprika and pepper. Bring back to simmer. Add the corn and the butter. Cover the pot and continue to simmer for at least 30 minutes until the stew is quite thick. Stir frequently to the bottom of the pot to keep the stew from scorching. Add water if needed.

All cooking at a simmer. Don’t boil the pot. Serves 6 to 8.

Hopkins County Stew
Hopkins County Stew is the best stew I’ve ever eaten.

Hopkins County Stew
4 slices bacon, diced
2 tablespoons butter
3 1/2 to 4 pounds stewing chicken, cut into pieces
6 (or more) medium onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
3 (1 pound) cans tomatoes
2 (12 ounce) cans whole kernel corn
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Fry bacon in large kettle, add butter and chicken. Saute until well browned. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer. Cook covered. After one hour, remove chicken and bone it. Dice and return. Cook an additional three hours covered, stirring occasionally.

Google Books
Eats: A Folk History of Texas Foods
by Ernestine Sewell Linck and Joyce Gibson Roach
Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press
Pg. 151:
She told James Conrad, archivist at East Texas State University: “Breakfast usually consisted of ribbon cane syrup, peach or pear preserves, ham or bacon, eggs, milk, corn meal mush or grits, coffee, biscuits, and gravy; while the main meal of the day—dinner—might include boiled vegetables, sweet potatoes, hominy, baked pies, and the famous Hopkins County stew (made of chicken, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, onions, and seasonings), or fried chicken, or chicken and dressing. ... Supper might be only corn bread crumbled in milk.”

10 June 1901, Fort Worth (TX) Morning Register, pg. 2:
Dish That Calls Forth Commendations
from One Who Enjoyed It.
“Hopkins County Stew.” That’s the name of it. Good? Did you ask? Well, I should say. All the picnic dinners of history fade into insignificance before it. Baked turkey, roast pig, pound cake, angel’s food and moonshine with cream and strawberries are all turned down when Hopkins county stew stands up for recognition.

It is said that the famous “New York delegation” had spread before them, on their visit to Sulphur Springs, this novel dish. They tasted, they smacked their lips, they rolled their eyes, they smiled blandly. Then fully convinced that they had struck the richest lead in all Texas, they took it in to their full capacity, and left the city too full of utterance.

Tell you how it’s made? I wish I could.
No one less gifted in the art of importunate pleading than myself could ever have obtained the recipe for making this stew. But I am able to give it to your readers on the condition that it shall be known as the “Hopkins county stew” thereby vesting some honor upon the fair ladies of this county who originated it. The name of my authority is appended to the recipe:

Hopkins county stew—2 gallons water, more added later is needed; 1 gallon Irish potatoes; 3/4 gallons tomatoes, fresh sliced or canned; 1/2 gallon corn, either fresh cut fine or canned; 2 pounds sweet bacon, sliced; 24 birds, or six frying-size chickens—two hens may take the place of either; 1/2 dozen pods chili pepper, seeds left out; put meat, pepper and tomatoes in first and cook, boil hard one and a half hours; then add onions and potatoes and cook until ingredients are cooked to shreds. Last add corn and cook fifteen minutes. Salt to taste. After corn is put in stir constantly to prevent burning.

Now should the lady readers of The Register wish to make a new raid upon the affectations of their leige lords they have only to study upon this stew.

It is especially hoped that the U. B. A. ladies will adopt it as the principle feature of all occasions where the supreme president is expected to be present. Under such treatment he will no doubt develop into a man of wonderful capacity.

Sulphur Springs, June 7.

18 August 1906, Ada (OK) Evening News, pg. 2?:
At Roff, Chicken gumbo is called “Hopkins county stew.” By either name the mixture is warranted to make a hungry man “break out and cry.”

13 November 1924, Ada (OK) Weekly News, pg. 6, col. 1:
The yearly club report was discussed by club, after which refreshments were served by hostess consisting of Hopkins county stew and ginger bread.

10 February 1955, Mexia (TX) Daily News, pg. 6 ad:
Hopkins County
Beef Stew...No. 2 can 35c

14 August 1960 Ada (OK) Evening News, pg. 5:
He is noted here for his Hopkins County Stew. His father made the game food dish famous in Hopkins county where Mr. (Joe—ed.) Beck grew up. Many Adans are familiar with this culinary delicacy for they have been fortunate enough to be invited for one of the Beck “stews.”

28 March 1963, Commerce (TX) Journal, section two, pg. 1:
Mrs. (W. O. --ed.) Dowdy said, “My schools helped to make Hopkins County Stew famous, for we always had a big dinner with stew as the main course.”

9 June 1966, Chicago Daily Herald, “I REMEMBER” by the Old Timer, pg. 60?:
From Mrs. D.W. Grozeclose, Childress, Texas: (...) The boys gathered firewood and a big pot was filled with stew. (...) This Hopkins County stew soon became famous. It is still made and sold at cafes near the highways.

18 March 1973, Port Arthur (TX) News, “A young homemaker” by Mary Faulk Koock, pg. ?:
The original recipe for Hopkins County Stew came from a Young Homemakers of Texas convention where it was raffled off by the quart.

(Rita’s Version)

1 1/2 pound fryer, simmered slowly in slightly salted water to cover until tender.
Remove chicken from broth, Let cool, then remove meat from bones. Meanwhile, ass to broth.

1 No. 2 can of tomatoes
1 (10 ounce) package of frozen whole kernel corn
1 pound of potatoes—cut in cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons chili powder (according to taste)
Let simmer slowly for 10 to 15 minutes. Add cut-up chicken and serve. Makes 8 generous servings.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, October 18, 2006 • Permalink