A Pot of Chicken Stew

Here is a recipe for a chicken soupy/stewish dish that everyone here raved about and licked clean. The way they went on, I was almost offended. Really? That good? I am suspicious when they rave so much. What exactly does that say about the rest of my cooking? “Gosh, look guys, it TASTES GOOD!” “Wow, really? Let me try!”

I hadn’t really planned this meal so much. But my hubby was complaining that he couldn’t get warm. (Now don’t laugh. I know we live in SoCal and our cold may not be your idea of cold. We start layering it on when it reaches a low of 65 out. And it was closer to 40 out there-Arctic!) I had planned on using the rotisserie or just baking the chicken in the oven with some bbq sauce on it. Easy speasy.

But in fact, instead of starting dinner I had lain down on the sofa to take a power nap. (you know, a “just give me 10 minutes to shut my eyes” nap.) When I woke up this recipe was fully formed in my head. So thank you to the powers that be for giving me this one. (Images from the movie “Always” come to mind). Something comforting, warm, filling.

Very easy, but I needed a couple of hours. Ok, so we ate late.

First I had to boil up the chicken. This I did in a stock pot with half an onion, a whole carrot, a stalk of celery, salt and pepper. I left it alone for about an hour.Then I took out the chicken and let it rest and cool in a large bowl. As it cooled, I pulled off some meat and bones, meat going in one bowl, the bones going back in the stock pot, along with a splash of vinegar to pull the minerals out of the bones.  I used forks because that chicken was hot to trot and I kept burning my fingers! When all the meat went off, all the bones and stuff went into the pot. (except for a few slivers of meat that found their way into the cats dish.)

I happened to have a box of chicken bone broth that Mr. M had bought recently and decided to use that. If not, I would have used the stock I was making. Instead, I saved that for another day.

Lets see. In a large dutch oven I rendered about 4 slices of bacon until barely crisping. Set the bacon aside for later. Use some of the fat to saute the root vegetables. If there is too much fat, pour some out for heaven’s sake.

I had diced up a couple of carrots, celery, I had a little sliver of fennel root left, and I sautéed all these. Then I added sliced mushrooms, herbs like dill and herbs de Provence and a little Cajun seasoning. Then after about 5 minutes I poured in some white wine (swoosh! Sizzle!). I let that cook down, added a can of drained diced tomatoes and the box of bone broth.

I liked keeping the chunks of chicken largish. So I put the chunks back in, added some frozen corn and then the secret ingredient-a can of evaporated milk! Or at least most of it. If you keep 1/4 of it in the can, you can add some corn starch to it, mix it up and add it to the soup and the last minute.

salt and pepper for taste. Then I remembered I had leftover mashed potatoes! They make a great thickener too. So 2 large spoonfuls of potatoes went in the pot and got mixed in.

I forgot the turmeric and I wished I had leeks. But I used what I had and it turned out, well, if you gauge by my family you’d think I discovered penicillin or something.

STEWED CHICKEN

  • 1 whole chicken (in a pot covered with water)
  • some root vegetables like carrots, onions and celery which will be discarded later
  • salt and pepper

Simmer this for about an hour. Take the chicken out to cool, keeping the broth in the pot. As it cools, strip the meat off the chicken and put the bones back in the stock pot to continue to simmer and add a splash of vinegar. I left the chicken in larger, but still bite size, pieces, instead of shredding or dicing.

  • bacon, 4 slices is good
  • diced carrots and celery, 2-3 of each
  • optional mushrooms, frozen corn or peas (or go wild and do both. I was out of peas).
  • a bit of fennel root if its available, or even some leek sliced up.
  • half of an onion, diced
  • frozen corn and/or peas, as much as you please
  • your favorite herbs. Herbs de Provence, dill weed mix, 21 season salute from Trader Joes. Whatever.
  • white wine, about 1/2 cup (optional)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth
  • 1 can evaporated milk (or cream would work)
  • mashed potatoes if you have them or some potato flakes
  • corn starch
  • green onions for garnish

In a large dutch oven cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is almost crisp. Set aside the bacon to crumble on top later.

Saute the carrots, celery, onions, fennel and mushrooms in the bacon fat for a few minutes until wilted. Add your favorite herbs and continue to saute for a minute. Now add the wine, watch it steam up and let it reduce. (2 minutes or so)

Add the broth, the tomatoes, the corn, the potatoes if you have them, the chicken, anything else I forgot and some salt and pepper. Let this simmer for a few minutes. By now you are probably hungry and need to eat. The longer it sits the tastier it gets, but you can have it now. I suggest tasting first, to see if it needs salt or pepper. I tend to under salt things, then I forget to check and everyone is passing the salt shakers.

I ladled some soup in the bowl and topped with diced scallions and crumbled bacon.

Vegetables sweating and sauteeing.
Vegetables sweating and sauteing.
I know, where is the bacon? Where the green onion? This is all that was left the next day for Mr. M's lunch. So no decor on the top, just hearty and delicious.
I know, where is the bacon? Where the green onion? This is all that was left the next day for Mr. M’s lunch. So no decor on the top, just hearty and delicious. I forgot to take a picture yesterday. The story of my life. By the time the food is done, we are so hungry, it does not occur to me to take a pic.

 

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