Nana's Chicken Stew
Soups and stews are family favorites all over the world, especially when the weather begins to turn cold. Nothing warms your insides like a bowl filled to the brim with piping hot homemade goodness. Chicken in a pot is most often associated with chicken soup but it also adds a wonderful flavor to stew. Searing chicken in a pan with onions and garlic creates nice bits for the base to make a thick sauce or gravy. For a good start to a perfect cold weather dinner, simmer vegetables with chicken breasts in the thick flavorful gravy.
PREP & COOK TIME 2 - 3 Hours
SERVINGS 4 - 6
4 - 6 Large chicken breasts, bones & skin removed
4 Tablespoons of margarine or butter
1 Large white or yellow onion, chopped
1 Teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1/2 Cup self-rising flour
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
Milk, 11 ounces (approx. 1 soup can)
Water, 11 ounces (approx. 1 one soup can)
Water, Enough to cover vegetables in pot
5 Medium/Large potatoes, cut into large cubes
6 Large carrots, cut into thick slices
2 Zucchini, cut into thick slices
2 Yellow squash, cut into thick slices
1 1/2 Cups cauliflower, flowers broken apart
2 Tablespoons dried basil
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 Teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 Teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 Teaspoon cumin
1/4 Teaspoon black pepper
Sprinkle chicken with cayenne pepper powder. Place cream of mushroom soup in a mixing bowl, add milk, 1 soup can of water and whisk until the soup and milk are mixed. Set aside. Melt margarine over medium-high heat in a good soup pot. When margarine gets hot enough to sizzle, carefully add onions, garlic and chicken. Sear the chicken well on both sides, remove from pan and set aside.
The onions and garlic should be brown and sticking to the bottom of the pan by now. Slowly add the flour to the pot whisking constantly to blend the flour with the margarine and loosen the onions and other yummy bits in the bottom. When flour begins to brown, add the mushroom soup, milk and water mixture while still whisking.
When the mixture begins to simmer, add the carrots. Cook carrots approximately ten minutes then, add the chicken back to the pot. Now, add the potatoes and the remainder of the seasonings. Simmer another ten minutes then add the zucchini, yellow squash and cauliflower. Turn down to low, cover and simmer until all vegetables are cooked; being careful not to overcook the potatoes and squash.
Sprinkle a little shredded cheese and parsley on top after dipping stew into bowls. Do not forget the corn bread or biscuits for sopping!
TIPS & MORE:
- If chicken is cut into large bite size pieces, you can use fewer pieces of chicken.
- Use a little more margarine if 4 tablespoons are not enough.
- Unless otherwise noted, all herbs are dried.
- I have substituted frozen carrots, squash, broccoli and cauliflower for fresh in this stew. It works well but needs very little cooking time. No more than 15 minutes.
- The more flour used, the thicker the gravy will be. Be careful not to use so much that it will not brown because you will wind up with a white gummy mess.
- You can substitute package or jarred gravy for the homemade flour/margarine gravy. Keeping in mind, the flavor will be different.
- The cayenne pepper can be left out for those who cannot or do not eat spicy foods.
- As with any recipe, adjust seasonings to your family's taste. I am particularly fond of potatoes so, tend to use an extra one whenever possible.
- Chicken should have an internal temperature of at least 165°F according to FoodSafety.gov
Finally, the one bit we cannot adjust. This recipe comes from an untitled work in progress (cookbook) by Jacqueline Cross. It is for personal use only. Please do not distribute multiple copies or add it to a collection without prior written permission. Ms. Cross thanks you from the bottom of her little pea-pickin' heart.