- Place meat, onion, celery, bay leaves, and thyme in an 8-quart Dutch oven. Cover with chicken stock, bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 3 hours. Strain the stock, reserve meat and discard all bones and gristle, vegetables, and herbs. Chop the meat and reserve separately.
- Let chill overnight. Then remove fat from stock.
- Fill the Dutch oven with the chopped meat, along with all vegetables and seasonings, and enough of the reserved stock just to cover. Bring to a simmer.
- Simmer slowly, uncovered for 4-5 hours, until all ingredients are tender.* Stir often to prevent sticking and add reserved stock sparingly if the stew begins to dry out. It should be very thick.
- Season with salt to taste. Serve in individual bowls with a side of cornbread.
Note: The burgoo can also be finished in a slow cooker. After steps 1 and 2 have been completed, mix the chopped meat, and all vegetables and seasonings in a large bowl and then pour into an 8-quart slow cooker or two 4 to 6-quart slow cookers. Add enough reserved stock to cover the vegetables about ¾, and simmer on low for 6-8 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Season with salt to taste.