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Stewed Chicken


Stewed Chicken was a comfort dish from my childhood. I've taken my mother's basic recipe and elevated the dish to another level of deliciousness and as always kept the cost to cooking on a budget!

My mother had a knack for home cooking. Most every single dish she made from my childhood was absolutely delicious - except for the ginger chicken dish she made which was pretty awful, so naturally we never let her live it down. One of the comfort dishes she made was stewed chicken. She only made stewed chicken during the winter months and I looked forward to it every time she made it. Now as an adult I loved slow braised dishes like stewed chicken.

I have not made her stewed chicken recipe for years. I decided to not only make the dish but recreate it to fit the style of cooking today. Instead of the dried herbs that she would use, I opted for fresh herbs: aromatic sage, rosemary and thyme, all of which go splendidly with chicken. I made a more loose broth than she but kept the basic techniques the same. The broth came out amazing! What incredible flavor it got from the chicken and herbs.

You can use any or all parts of the chicken; however I chose the thighs for their flavor and value. One of the kitchen gifts I received many years ago now and is so valuable to me in the kitchen and gets lots of use in the winter, is my Dutch Oven. A Dutch Oven can be used on the stove top or in the oven and is worth every penny.
  • 4-6 chicken thighs
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup flour (reserve 4 tbsp.)
  • 1 1/2 cups celery - sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups onion - diced
  • 2 cups (or more) carrots - sliced
  • 12 medium sized sage leaves
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tsp. rosemary leaves
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil 
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • cheese cloth, butchers twine
The fresh herbs are used in a bouquet garni which is why you need the cheese cloth and butchers twine.
  1. Wash the chicken under cold water. Be sure to pat it dry with paper towels. 
  2. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. Prep all of your vegetables as above directions- celery, onion, carrots.
  4. Have the chicken broth ready.
  5. In a cheese cloth add the herbs and close up with some butchers twine.
  6. In a pie plate add the flour and salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well. Reserve about 4 tablespoons for making a roux later on.
  7. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shake off excess and place on a clean plate or platter.
  8. In a Dutch oven or other deep wide pot add in the olive oil and turn the heat up to medium high. Let the oil get hot - takes a minute or so.
  9. Add in the chicken skin side down. Sear to render the fat and brown the skin. This takes about 5 minutes. Be sure to adjust the heat down a touch if necessary.
  10. Turn the chicken over and sear the other side for 2 minutes. Remove to a waiting plate.
  11. Turn the heat off. Pour off the fat that has accumulated (save it) in a Pyrex measuring cup or other dish that can take the heat.
  12. Next, VERY CAREFULLY using paper towels and tongs wipe out the extra dark brown bits. 
  13. Add about 3 tablespoons of fat back to the pan. Turn the heat to medium and add in the onions, celery and carrots. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sweat the vegetables for 6-8 minutes to release their juices.
  14. Remember the flour you reserved? Add that to the pan and stir to incorporate. Cook for a minute or two to cook out that raw flour taste. You can almost smell the flour go to nuttiness when the flour taste has cooked off.
  15. Add in 5 1/2 cups of chicken broth to cover the chicken. Place your bouquet garni in the broth and submerge.
  16. Bring the liquid up to a boil, then immediately set the heat to simmer.
  17. Don't totally put the lid on, cock it to one side, or in the case of the Dutch Oven, you can turn it so that some of the steam escapes.
  18. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. The chicken should read 165° to be considered cooked safely. 
  19. Remove the bouquet garni and you are ready to serve.
  • When you place the fat in a Pyrex container, the dark bits settle and you are left with chicken flavored oil which is so helpful in flavoring this dish.
  • By cocking the lid slightly you are allowing some steam to escape so that the flavor is concentrated.
  • Making the bouquet garni: place the herbs on the cheese cloth and pull up all sides. If you want to tie the bouquet garni to the pot, use enough string to knot the cloth and tie to your handle. Otherwise just submerge the whole thing in the pot and remove when the dish is finished.
  • I can't stress enough how an instant read thermometer is important in a home kitchen - they are not just for restaurants. With an instant read thermometer you can accurately get the temperature of meats, poultry and fish. The link is to an inexpensive one (like I have) at Amazon.
  • It's important to dry the chicken well before searing. If you don't you get splattered and the chicken won't brown as well.
  • Serve with your favorite dumpling recipe, egg noodles or mashed potatoes - all for a few pennies more than my costing below.

The chicken is succulent, tender and coupled with
the herbaceous broth this an unbeatable family
comfort dinner for not a lot of money.
The total cost for the dish was $7.20, feeding four for $1.80
or six for $1.20.

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