Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Barefoot Contessa Chicken Stew

Today was the first crisp autumn day that we've had and I jumped at the chance to make a large pot of soup. I enjoy having a warm, bubbling pot of soup on the stove on days like this. I referred to Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook for my favorite chicken stew recipe. It was so delicious that I am looking forward to tomorrow when I can have it again for my lunch. This recipe also makes a great filling for Chicken Pot Pie.

Chicken Stew with Biscuits
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (I reduced this to only 1/2 stick and it turned out terrific.)
2 onions chopped
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups carrots diced
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 potatoes, peel, and cubed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside and cool enough to handle, then remove them from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You should have 4-6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add carrots and potatoes, simmer over medium-low for 15 minutes or until tender. Add the chicken, peas, and parsley. Mix well.
At this point I leave it on the lowest setting and allow everything to marry together until it is time to eat. I also made a small batch of buttermilk biscuits to go along with the stew. These were very yummy with the soup and would be terrific with jam on them for another day.

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