We ate chicken stew last night. It was warming and meaty and good. It is a forgiving meal in that all the quantities are flexible and you can vary the ingredients depending on what you have in the cupboard.
Around 6 chicken drumsticks and 2 chicken thighs (on the bone)
2 sticks of celery
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp plain flour
white wine - around a glass
chicken stock - around one pint
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin cannellini beans
1 squirt tomato puree
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
- Peel and chop the onions, celery and carrots and fry gently for ten minutes with a few sprigs of thyme. I do this is a casserole dish that can be transferred to the oven.
- Add the meat, potatoes and flour and stir it all around. There is no need to brown the meat separately in the flour - doing it this way will help it thicken up beautifully.
- Pour in the wine, stock, chopped tomatoes, beans and tomato puree. Stir.
- Transfer to the oven. I cooked this for three hours because the meat was on the bone and I wanted it to be very tender, but if you are using boned thighs or breast one and a half to two hours would be long enough.
- Take it out after and hour and stir, adding more liquid if you think it needs it. If you think it needs to thicken more, take the lid off for the last half hour of cooking time.
A complete mishmash but very delicious. Not really a "proper" chicken stew - the jointed cuts of meat and cannellini beans and tomato flavours make it similar to Chicken Cacciatore, the Italian "Hunter's Chicken". Using new potatoes stops the potatoes breaking down as they cook but to be honest I used them because that is what was in the cupboard. It's really nice if you leave out the chicken stock and flour and add more wine and tomatoes and some chorizo and black olives - it makes it more of a sunny, Mediterranean stew (we call it Spanish Chicken Stew). Or if you wanted a more traditional stew, leave out the wine, chopped tomatoes and cannellini beans and use peeled and chopped potatoes rather than new ones. The stock, flour and potatoes will thicken into a lovely chickeny, gravy-like sauce.
The variations are endless. That's what I love about stews, they are easy and you can chuck anything in and anything that is cooked slowly for a long time will taste good.
John and I had some debate over whether this was a stew or a casserole, and what the difference is. We came to the conclusion that we don't know. So it is a stew.