Saturday, February 21, 2009

Recipe: Low-Fat Chicken Stew

This is a relatively low-fat version of chicken stew that uses a cornstarch slurry at the end to thicken the liquid, rather than a roux at the beginning. The leftovers reheat really well, either on the stovetop, or in a microwave at 40% (or so) power. Truth be told, I didn't follow a recipe, or even refer to one; I just cooked it. Ingredient quantities are approximate.

Yield: approximately half a gallon
Time: 2-3 hours, on the stovetop

  • One very large chicken breast on the bone, or two small ones, with the skin
  • 4 stalks of celery, sliced about 1/4" thick
  • 4 oz. of baby carrots, sliced about 1/4" thick (or two large carrots)
  • one very large onion, or 2-3 smaller ones, roughly chopped
  • cloves from half a small head of garlic, or 1/3 or a large one, peeled and sliced
  • 2 small or one large potato, peeled, and diced into 1/2" chunks
  • 1 qt. of chicken stock (chicken broth works fine, too)
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • salt (preferably sea salt, but it doesn't really matter)
  • pepper (preferably freshly ground Tellicherry)
  • 3-4 Tbs. of olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. of cornstarch
  1. Heat 1-2 Tbs. of olive oil in a wide pot, and brown the chicken breasts on medium heat. You can coat them with flour first, but it's not necessary -- salt and pepper's sufficient.
  2. Remove the chicken, and toss in the sliced veggies, add salt and pepper, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add more olive oil as necessary. Let the veggies sweat until the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes).
  3. Place the chicken back in the pot, bone side down, sprinkle on the thyme and rosemary, then add the chicken stock. Nestle the chicken down into the stock and veggies a bit, then put a lid on the pot. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  4. After about an hour, flip the chicken, and nestle it back into the rest of the stuff in the pot.
  5. Give it maybe another 20-30 minutes, then take out the chicken, and let it cool for a few minutes.
  6. Peel the skin off the chicken, throw it away, along with the bones, and shred the chicken.
  7. Toss the shredded chicken back into the pot with the diced potato. Let it simmer for another half an hour. The lid is optional at this point.
  8. Mix the cornstarch with enough cold water to make a slurry, then stir it into the pot. It'll thicken the "sauce" once it comes to a boil.
  9. Adjust the seasonings to your taste, serve, and enjoy.

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