Chicken Stew from My Nana

Most chicken stews are made with a heavy hand; the result is the feeling that you’ve just consumed dinner for four. My nana knew a better way. This is a much lighter chicken stew, coming in on the gravitational scale somewhere between chicken soup and roast chicken. What makes this dish is both the traditional ingredients and the fact that it simmers as long as a senate filibuster. A little patience pays off in a bountiful stew.

Serves 6

1 whole organic chicken breast, halved, plus 2 drumsticks and 2 thighs
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 small yellow onions, cut into bite-size pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
3 celery stalks, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
¼ teaspoon dried sage
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups Chicken Stock
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes

Prepare the chicken pieces by rinsing and patting them dry (this will help the chicken brown more evenly). Rub with the salt, pepper, and the ½ teaspoon paprika.

In an 8-quart uncovered pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces (you may have to do this in two stages) and brown on both sides. If you begin to lift a piece and it sticks, it’s not ready; wait until the chicken lifts easily. Transfer the chicken from the pot to a bowl when both sides are browned.

In the same pot, add half of the onion and one-third of the carrots and celery and sauté until just golden. Add the sage, thyme, garlic, and the ⅛ teaspoon paprika and sauté for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock to deglaze the pot, using a wooden spoon to scrape all the browned bits from the bottom.

Return the chicken to the pan and add just enough stock to cover, about 3 cups. Simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the stock, cool, and remove the meat from the bone. Cut the meat into chunks and add to the broth, along with the potatoes and the remaining onion, carrots, and celery. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty bread.

Inner Cook Notes: Some people like to serve this stew peasant style, with the chicken on the bone.

Reprinted with permission from One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends Copyright © 2009 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.