Not long ago I was talking with my cousin Neil, and he was telling me about how everyone in his house had come down with some sort of bug. I know how that feels! There is nothing worse when everyone is sick. For one thing, nobody wants to cook.
Of course, there is nothing better when your sick than some home made chicken stew so I decided to make them up a batch so A. they would not have to cook, and B. the chance to make them feel a little better.
Neils’ wife Melissa has been asking me for the recipe every since, and I haven’t written it down because it is just one of those dishes I just make as I go along. Well, the other day I made it again and tried to keep in my memory how I did it. So Melissa, this one is for you, I hope I got it all right.
- 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
- 1 large onion, roughly diced
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed (or pressed)
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 large carrots chopped
- 1 can sweet corn
- 1 can green beans
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- chicken stock/broth
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- about 1/4 cup of flour
- 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (not that dust from the green can)
- 1 1/2 cups of bow-tie pasta or cheese tortellini (uncooked)
- About a cup of heavy cream
- Canola oil
Preheat oven to 250.
In a large dutch oven or other such pot that has a heavy lid and is oven safe, add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Heat to medium low.
Once the oil is hot, add the onions and celery and cook for about 3 minutes until onion is just tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and add carrots.
Clean the chicken and remove any excess fat and innards. Add to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Add thyme and bay leaves and then pour enough water to come half way up the bird. Add the rosemary (complete sprigs) on top of the bird. Cover tightly with the lid and put in the oven. Cook for 5 hours.
Remove from the oven and carefully remove the chicken to plate. It will be falling apart at this point, so try to keep the small bones from going into the pot.
Drain and SAVE the stock to a bowl, using a strainer to catch the vegetables. If you can, put the drained stock into a fat separator, otherwise, when the stock has cooled for a couple minutes, try to spoon off the fat that rises to the top.
Put the pot on the stove and set to medium low. Add the butter. When butter is melted, make a roux with the flour. This is just the wet paste you get when you add the flour to the butter. It should be the consistency of melted peanut butter. If it is too dry, add a little oil or butter. Stir for about 3-4 minutes constantly.
Add the stock you drained to the pot while stirring. If the mixture is too thick (which it probably will be) add some of the chicken stock from the ingredients list. Should fill three quarters of the pot. Once it comes to a boil, reduce to simmer and stir until the heat dies down.
By now, your chicken should be cool. Carefully remove the meat (discard the skin), and check to make sure there are no bones or cartilage in the meat. Chop to bite size pieces and add back to the pot. Add back the veggies you strained earlier
Add the pasta and cook at a medium low heat, stirring every couple of minutes. It will thicken considerably as the pasta absorbs water. If the stew is too thick, add more stock or water.
Once the pasta is done, add the corn and green beans (or any other canned veggie you want).
Stir in the cheese until melted.
Slowly stir in cream until desired color (white).
Once it starts to bubble, it is done, remove from heat. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
I hope I didn’t leave anything out, but feel free to improvise. Chicken soup/stew if very forgiving.