I don’t generally like soup. Or maybe soup doesn’t like me. Either way, we’ve never had a relationship, and unless I take into account that soup is one of the most beloved of foods, I am okay with being abnormal. This can also be evidenced by wardrobe from 1985 to…well…2010. Normalcy be damned.
You probably won’t find me sitting down to a bowlful of soup anytime soon. Unless of course some chef comes up with a chocolate version, in which case I’ll give up solid food for a year or more.
Stews on the other hand, well…stews are a world more lovable. Cozy and warming. They’re thick enough to really feel like a meal to me, and maybe that’s because I use very little liquid in mine. The stews I create are chunky and rich, dense and hearty in a stick-to-your-ribs sort of way. Each vegetable is soft and giving, just glazed in a satiny coat of sauce.
And while I’m partial to beef stew, I had roasted a small chicken this weekend and had leftovers to spare. With my creative cap snuggled nicely around my ‘It’s the weekend, who will see me?’ afro, I set about slimming and saucing a chicken stew. I wanted to create a meal that tasted a bit like the innards of a chicken pot pie, that creamy, saucy middle that I’m so fond of. The only caveat? I didn’t have cream.
I wanted the flavors of fall and Thanksgiving- those lovely notes of thyme and rosemary and bay. I also wanted a meal that felt rustic and reminded me of home. And quite honestly, I wanted an excuse to make biscuits.
This is comfort food.
This is: cue the storm outside, wrap yourself in a blanket, find a channel replaying Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (that’s TBS, thankyouverymuch), and wear that sweatshirt you got on a trip to Calgary Canada circa 1996. Then dine on chicken stew.
Despite the creaminess of the photos, and the way it coats the back of a spoon, this chicken stew has not a drop of cream in it. It’s almost so healthy that I’m skeptical butter may have sneaked into the pot while I turned my back to eat a cookie. The universe has always been fond of playing tricks on me like that.
Hearty Chicken Stew
Warning: This is thicker than most stews. It resembles the insides of a chicken pot pie. Enter at your own risk.
To a large pot, add chopped carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, a few sprigs of time, a bay leaf, and a sprig of rosemary. Pour 3 cups of good quality chicken broth on top and bring the mixture to a boil.
When it has reached boiling, reduce the heat and let the pot simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add a hefty handful of frozen or fresh sweet corn and a cup of chopped frozen or fresh green beans. Now add 2 heaping teaspoons of poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper. Stir. In a small cup or bowl, whisk to dissolve 2 tablespoons of corn starch in 1/4 cup cold water. Pour that into the pot and stir to combine. Let the mixture return to a simmer and you should notice the cornstarch thickening the soup within about 2 minutes. If your stew doesn’t thicken enough to your liking, add more cornstarch (dissolved in cold water- generally the ratio of cornstarch to water is 1:2).