(Chef Laurence holds a heaping bowl of Russ’ Brunswick Stew / Photo by Morgan Newton)
This week, my long-time friend, Mike Russell, came over from Lexington and met our extraordinarily-gifted and talented Chef — Laurence Agnew — to cook up a few ideas about possible food items that we may have on the menu at The Louisville Thoroughbred Society.
On the menu of possible “menu items” is Mike’s most famous and legendary “Brunswick Stew.” And, I wanted to make sure that Mike — the author of this tasty morsel — was able to pass the recipe along to my great friends at Crushed Ice Catering.
Including, and most importantly, Chef Laurence.
But like most great food items, this story took awhile to make. And, er, cook up.
You see, I was first introduced to Mike Russell way back in the mid-1980s. We came to meet on the golf course, of all places, when I was a fledgling sportswriter and Mike was an established star of the links. On this day, Mike had managed to negotiate a hole-in-one as part of the Pro-Am event of the Senior’s Tour, which had an annual stop at Lexington’s Griffin Gate resort, at the time.
Mike, never the quite sort, was ready, willing and able to talk about this Ace. I, never the quite sort, was ready, willing and able to write about his Ace. We were a natural.
A few years later, I met Mike again. This time, Mike and a band of his allies hired me to become the Executive Director and head lobbyist for the Kentucky Beer Wholesalers Association. It was my first client under my brand new company — McLean Communications. It was my first chance.
Long story shorter, I still represent the KBWA today. We are now 25 years in the making. Story continues.
And, long story better, I am still friends with Mike Russell. We are now 30 some years in the making. The story continues.
It wasn’t too long after I took the gig with the KBWA that Mike invited me to his annual New Year’s Day “Football Extravaganza,” and all-day “Poker Playoff.” It was then that he also introduced me to a host of his best friends and to his homemade Brunswick Stew.
I have always been a sucker of, and for soups. But when I tasted Mike’s concoction? OMG. I fell in love with the piping hot mixture. And, I begged for a portion every time he made it. Always, Mike would comply. He would package up a heaping helping and send it my way. It didn’t take me long to empty the vessel, and get my fill.
When we embarked on this mission of creating the LTS, I invited Mike Russell and Mike Schnell — one of the LTS’ “Founding Members” — to a day at the races over at Keeneland. Come to find out, Mike Russell and Mike Schnell had met before, too. None of the three of us are the quiet sorts, mind you. And, we were all “naturals.”
Now that we are closing in on the final stages of getting the LTS ready for an opening later on, I thought it was time to introduce Mike Russell and his “stew” to our Chef, not a quite sort, either. I was hoping that we could add another “natural” ingredient to our mix.
On Wednesday, Mr. Russell and Mr. Agnew created some magic. A wonderful batch of Brunswick Stew. And, we added another friend to our mix.
Needless to say, the scene warmed my heart. The soup warmed my belly.
I am hoping that someday soon, we can introduce the hearty stew to all of you at the LTS. It could be another part of the dream. Soon to become true.
Take a peek inside. I think you will like the view:
(McLean, Chef and Mike Russell / Photo by Morgan Newton)
(Mike’s own “Moo Shine” beer cheese was a hit on Wednesday, too. You may get to sample this tasty version, as well / Photo by Morgan Newton)
And, of course…
(McLean gets one more bowl of Brunswick Stew / Photo by Morgan Newton)