CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Stew

Exactly what constitutes a good stew?

The vast majority of people will say theirs usually consists of some tender meat, usually beef, hearty vegetables (potatoes and carrots) and a delicious, thick sauce. But beyond this, there many options when it comes to stew.

Some cooks like to lighten things up a bit and substitute chicken or turkey (I like pheasant). And there’s no limit to what kind or how many types of vegetables can go into a stew.

The following recipe, which I improvised a bit from one found on the internet, features chicken (instead of beef) and the usual veggies plus some sliced mushrooms. Not only was the stew bursting with flavor, it was a snap to make, taking less than hour from preparation to table time.

But I think one addition that really made this stew so tasty and comforting was herbes de Provence. (Mine is a combination of basil, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, lavender and thyme.) This combination gives you a hint of all the herbs but without the intensity them individually.

Stew is always a good choice during the winter months when the weather can get a little dicey. In fact, it’s even a sure bet when the sun is shining and the temperatures are above freezing.

Chicken Stew
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cooked and shredded (can substitute turkey or pheasant)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ cups diced yellow onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
4½ cups chicken broth, divided
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon flour
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in onions, carrots, celery and saute 5 minutes. Add in garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
Add 3½ cups chicken broth, potatoes, herbs de Provence and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then add in mushrooms and chicken.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.
While vegetables and chicken are cooking, in a separate small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook whisking constantly, 1 minute.
While whisking add remaining 1 cup chicken broth. Cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from heat. Pour into soup mixture. Serve with crusty bread.

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