Where to begin after a pheasant dinner? Back to basics and something new to me. This chicken stew with tomatoes recipe caught my attention. One of the nice things about writing a blog is the connection to other bloggers who write about the same stuff. In my case it’s food and painting. I can read peoples’ food blogs from all over the world.
This recipe appealed to me for its simplicity. Since I am trying to expand my repertoire past chicken soup, I have picked up a few recommendations from PBS food shows. Like how to cut up a whole chicken is a semi-science of knives and skill. (You should have seen Jacque Pepin cut up a whole duck on Julia Child’s show. The knives and technique awed me.) The advice is that a whole bird is less costly than buying chicken in parts and the parts are not necessarily from the same chicken. (Think about it. How many chickens have three or four breasts?) Kosher chicken was recommended. I was at Trader Joe’s to pick up some of their brand flour. When I rambled over to check out the chicken I mentally gasped at the price of a small whole chicken! Eighteen dollars? (Seriously?) A non-organic or non-kosher chicken is slightly less dinero. (Have you noticed that the price of chicken is through the roof?) Okay, I wimped out and bought chicken breasts that matched.
This is good healthy mid-winter, I-am-ignoring-the-four-feet-of-snow-outside-my-door meal. It takes no time to cook. For this recipe I didn’t have thyme so I used Opal basil and peppery basil that I had dried this summer. (Fresh herbs are better, of course.) Note: I removed the skin from the chicken and the any globs of fat that I found before cooking – counter to the instructions below.
Here it is!
Chicken Stew from http://peasantcuisine.wordpress.com
2 Tablespoons olive oil 2 stalks celery, cut into bite size pieces 1 carrot peeled, cut into bite size pieces 1 small onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14-1/2 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can low-salt chicken broth [My suggestion:or a box of better quality chicken broth]
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 Tblsp. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 chicken breasts with ribs (about 1-1/2 lbs. total), also works well with legs and chicken thighs.
1 (15 oz.) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Heat the oil in a heavy 5-1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion. Sauté the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme. Add the chicken breasts; press to submerge.
Bring the cooking liquid to simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring the mixture occasionally, about 25 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a work surface and cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer until the liquid has reduced into stew consistency, about 10 minutes.
Discard the skin and bones from the chicken. Shred or cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew just to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Eat it with gusto or a rough peasant bread.