Cut chicken in pieces and simmer in 3 quarts water for a thin stew, or 2 quarts for a thick stew, until meat can easily be removed from bones, about 2 1/4 hours. Add raw vegetables to broth and simmer, uncovered, until beans and potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
Brown italian sausage in a skillet and drain any fat.
Add chicken, boned and diced if desired, sausage, and the seasonings to the broth. Let simmer at least 45 minutes.
Note: If canned vegetables are used, include juices and reduce water to 2 quarts for a thin stew, 1 quart for a thick stew.
Also Note: Brunswick stew is one of those delectable meals that benefit from long, slow cooking. It is a rule in some Tidewater homes never to eat Brunswick stew the same day it is made, as its flavor improves if it is left to stand overnight and served reheated.