Hearty Chicken Stew

While on my way to the Mequon store yesterday, I went back and forth in my head over what to make for dinner.  And the answer my friends, was blowin’ in the wind.  The wild, wicked, and wacky wind whispered:  chicken stew.  ‘Cause when the weather outside is frightful, stew is so delightful!

Let’s pretend I didn’t just make a Christmas carol reference and quote Peter, Paul, and Mary all in the same paragraph.

So I got all the ingredients home and got to work.  And things were looking promising.  But when it got closer to dinner time, I nearly decided not to blog about this dish today.  And here’s why.  If I let you get any closer to the picture, you would be able to tell the small error that I made.  Because I went crazy and added more carrots than were called for (and threw in an extra potato if you want the down and dirty), when it came time to submerge my chicken, there wasn’t enough liquid left to do the job.  But instead of opening another box of chicken broth, I decided to use up some half and half that I had in the fridge.

Don’t……do that.  Don’t add half and half.  Go ahead and open another box of chicken broth.  Trust me.  It didn’t hamper the flavor of the stew in any way, but it did end up affecting the finished product’s good looks.  So don’t get too close to the photo.

Ultimately, I decided to go ahead and tell you guys about this dish because everyone here (with the exception of you-know-who) absolutely flipped out for this meal.  Bananas, berserk, and beside themselves with bliss, the DamFam pronounced it to be ‘blog-worthy’ — so here you go.

Happy WINDS-day, everyone!

HEARTY CHICKEN STEW
Serves:  4 – 6
Source:  The Best Soups & Stews, by the Editors of Cooks Illustrated.  Copyright 2006, pp. 231-232.

8 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat (Sendik’s chicken thighs are on sale)
1 t. neutral cooking oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 T. flour
1/2 c. white wine
2 ½ c. chicken broth (plus more if necessary)
1 bay leaf
½ t. dried thyme
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced (bunched carrots are on sale)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2” dice (Yukon Golds are on sale)
1 c. frozen peas, thawed (Westpac Frozen Vegetables are on sale)
¼ c. chopped fresh parsley

Your favorite biscuits, for serving (optional)

Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper to taste.  Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes.  Add four chicken thighs (skin side down) and cook undisturbed until the skin is crisp and well browned, about 5 minutes.  Using tongs, flip the chicken over and brown on the second side for an additional 5 minutes.  Transfer the browned chicken to a plate.  Repeat with the remaining thighs, transfer them to the plate, and set aside.  Pour off all but one tablespoon of fat from the pan.  When the chicken has cooled, remove and discard the skin.

Add the onion to the pan and sauté over medium heat until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in the flour and cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pot.  Add the broth, bay leaf, and thyme, and bring to a simmer.  Add the carrots and potatoes, return to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the chicken and accumulated juices, submerging the chicken in the liquid.  Return to a simmer, cover, and continue to simmer over medium low heat for 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. (*SEE NOTE*)

Add the peas, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in the parsley, discard the bay leaf, and adjust the seasonings.  Serve immediately.

**NOTE** I took the chicken out here, let it cool slightly, and shredded it with two forks.  I added it back to the Dutch oven when I added the peas.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | October 26th, 2010