I love stew. Just saying the word can sometimes make me hungry. It connotes something warm, filling, and delicious, a concoction of all the things I like to eat. This is the first time I've ever tried making chicken stew, as I usually go for beef stew, but something about chicken stew called out to me, so I had to make it.
In my mind, I wasn't thinking the stew would have a tomatoey base, but this was a very highly rated recipe by Giada De Laurentiis -- and now I know why. It's fantastic, and hit just the right spot. I used chicken leg quarters instead of breasts as the original recipe called for, and I wasn't sorry at all. The only thing about the recipe is that it calls for fresh basil, which is a bit odd for a stew. Not that it's not good, but basil is a summer herb for most people and stew isn't usually something people crave when the sun's beating down on them during those hot summer months. In the wintertime, unless you have an indoor herb garden you'll probably have to make do with store-bought basil, or simply leave it out.
Chicken Stew (recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 large carrot, or 2 small, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 small onion, chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 14.5oz can chopped tomatoes and diced green chilies
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 3 chicken leg quarters, skin on
- 1 15oz can organic kidney beans, drained (rinsed if not organic)
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven (or other heavy pot) over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion and saute 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, and thyme. Add the chicken; press to submerge.
- Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken over and stirring the mixture occasionally, about 25 minutes.
- Using tongs, transfer the chicken 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 a stew consistency, about 10 minutes.
- Discard the skin and bones from the chicken legs. Shred or cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew, then bring the stew just to a simmer. Ladle in bowls and serve.