Monday, December 16, 2013

Stew: Not Beef but Chicken

December 8, 2013

Chicken Stew
Parker House Rolls
Main & Geary 2012 Sonoma County Chardonnay

Chicken Stew from Cook's Illustrated
Chocolate Snowcapped Cookies from Food Wishes 

I've had beef stew many, many times. Who hasn't? But I don't remember ever having chicken stew. Chicken soup, yes, but not chicken stew. A recent issue of Cook's Illustrated introduced a recipe for chicken stew, comparing it quite favorably to beef stew, so I gave it a try.

Making the stew was not a lot of work. While it wasn't a simple dump and stir recipe, the amount of time and work was not overwhelming and much of the time was hands off. The early steps build the rich umami flavor of the stew and its smooth silky texture. Aromatic vegetables are cooked in bacon fat.  A cup of chicken stock was added and then fully reduced. Anchovy paste and browned chicken wings which were included in the stew added additional umami and chicken flavor. No, there is no anchovy flavor in the finished product.

I purchased "party wings" which I could use without additional processing, the wing tips were not included and the wings had been already cut. Instead of just discarding them after cooking, as the recipe instructs, we pulled the meat off the bones and added it to the stew. I also cut up the cooked chicken thighs before serving as they were far from bite sized; we like our stew components to be small enough to eat without having to cut them them.

The sauce was wonderful, full of flavor. The chicken was tender and juicy and the vegetables were cooked just right. This is definitely a dish to make again. It was served with Parker House rolls, which had been made for Thanksgiving, and a slightly oaky Chardonnay that went well with the rich stew.

For dessert we had chocolate cookies well coated with powdered sugar. These were easy to make and good to eat and would make a good Christmas cookie with their snowy topping.

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