Sunday, October 16, 2016

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew -- needing a better pic in some natural light

This recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated Special Collector's Edition Cook It Right magazine. I bought it during an extra long planning period I had while subbing at a high school. If you've ever substitute taught high school, you may know the boredom that often accompanies the job. High school teachers very rarely leave actual teaching to the substitute since they never know what subject the sub's teaching license is in, if any. And although I respect each teacher's choice to give me a minimal amount of work to do, I have to say, it's hard to keep awake sometimes--especially if the book I've brought to read requires too much thought.
At any rate, I knew that a Cook's Illustrated magazine would be super interesting, but also allow me to pay attention to the students under my care.
Now onto the stew... I've never had a Cook's Illustrated recipe let me down, and this one didn't either. I must admit, my family enjoyed this stew much more than I did, so I will be tweaking it next time to get it just right. My husband is all for that because he really wants me to make this again.
It's a very rich stew with very meaty, savory, umami flavor. It's not too thick, and it's not soupy either. It hits the spot on a cold autumn evening, and it tasted perfect with some warm homemade French bread
So if you're looking for a stick-to-your-ribs chicken dish that is warm and comforting, this is it.

Chicken Stew
    --Adapted from Cook's Illustrated Special Collector's Edition Cook It Right

  • 2 large chicken breasts (or 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound chicken wings, halved at the joint
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 celery rib, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic chili paste/sauce
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour (I used Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
  • 1 pound red potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into half-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place chicken breasts (or thighs) on a plate and lightly salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is somewhat browned. With a slotted spoon, scoop out the bacon and place in a heat-proof bowl. 
Add the chicken wings to the hot bacon fat in the Dutch oven and cook wings on both sides until well browned. When brown, move wings to the bowl to sit with the bacon.
Add onion, celery, garlic, and thyme to the Dutch oven. Stir until veggies are browned. 
Turn heat up to high and stir in 1 cup of broth, wine, soy sauce, and garlic chili paste. Stir and scrape bottom of pan to get up the browned veggies sticking to the bottom. Cook until liquid evaporates and the veggies begin to sizzle. 
Add butter and melt it. Sprinkle flour over the butter and veggies and stir to combine and cook the flour. 
Gradually whisk in 4 more cups of broth and whisk until smooth. 
Stir in the potatoes, carrots, wings, and bacon. Bring to a simmer. Transfer Dutch oven to preheated oven and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring once, halfway through cooking.
Remove the pot from the oven and stir, using the liquid to wet and scrape down the browned sides of the Dutch oven. 
Place Dutch oven over high heat.  Cut the chicken breasts/thighs into large chunks (about 4 chunks each for breasts and two chunks each for thighs). Stir and then return to oven to cook another 45 minutes or so, until the chicken breast/thigh meat is tender and easily shredded.
Remove the chicken wings and discard. Shred the chicken breasts/thighs into bite-size pieces. 
Taste and decide if you need to add any salt or pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Makes about 6 servings

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