Saturday, August 14, 2010

Unseasonable Recipe: Chicken Stew

Nothing says August in the Northern Hemisphere like a steaming bowl of homemade chicken stew! Perhaps not, but times are tough and belts are tight, and chicken thighs are cheaper than breasts, so stew happens. So why not cool off on a hot summer's evening with a heaping helping of my personal recipe? Forgive the less than gorgeous photo, but I'm so not a cookbook photographer.

4 chicken thighs (cage-free organic if you want to go to heaven)
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup potatoes, chopped into dice-sized blocks
½ cup carrots, chopped
½ cup onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
fistful of frozen peas
fistful of frozen corn
1 bell pepper (I like red) chopped
optional extras: chopped mushrooms, zucchini, squash, cauliflower, etc.
½ cup flour, white or whole wheat
1–5 tbsp cornstarch (depends on how thick you like your stew)
salt and pepper

1. Cut chicken in to bite-sized chunks. In a large pot, simmer chicken in stock until the meat is cooked. You can also cook the bones down…I hear it's very tasty but I buy boneless so I have no advice about how to go about that.

2. Add all the veggies except the peppers and optional zucchini or squash (they'll get overly soft if they stew too long). Turn burner to low and cover.

3. Simmer 30–45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots and potatoes are soft.

4. Add final veggies and sift in flour. Stir.

5. Sprinkle cornstarch in one tablespoon at a time, to avoid homely white lumps. Stir between sprinklings, to give stew time to thicken to your liking. Once you've reached this step, be sure to stir regularly, scraping the bottom of the pot. If it thickens too much, just add some water or broth.

6. Add salt, pepper and other spices (I like adding pakrika) to taste.

7. Stir and taste until final veggies are softened.

This stew goes great with crusty bread, or dished over rice or mashed potatoes. It also makes a great chicken pot pie filling, perhaps with a bit more cornstarch added for thickness.

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