Friday, September 19, 2008

Chicken Stew

I always love getting recipes from my sister-in-law, Marianne. She cooks the most amazing food! So, when we got to the topic of chicken stew, I asked her how she makes it. She told me that this one is her favorite. I'm thrilled that she shared it with me! Also, today is the perfect day to share it with you, since today is Bobby and Marianne's wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary guys! And, once again, thanx for the recipe!

5 cups chicken broth (I use Swanson's)
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, trimmed
5 tablespoons butter (I used unsalted)
4 carrots peeled and sliced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 tsp. salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbs. all purpose flour
3/4 cup dry sherry (I was afraid that this would make it taste to "winey" so I only used about a 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
black pepper
1 1/2 cup frozen peas
4 tbs. minced fresh parsley

Bring broth to simmer in Dutch oven over high heat. Add chicken and return to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and tent loosely with foil. Transfer broth to large bowl.

Return empty Dutch oven to medium high heat and melt butter. Add carrots, celery, onions and salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook stirring frequently for about 1 minutes. Stir in sherry, scraping up browned bits. Stir in reserved broth, cream, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until stew thickens.
Remove bay leaves and return stew to a rapid simmer. Shred chicken and add to stew along with any accumulated juices, peas and 3 tbs. parsley. At this point, you can add your favorite dumplings if you like.

Tip from Marianne:
I usually transfer the stew to a large baking dish, make Mashed Potatoes and spread them over the top of the stew. Pour a little melted butter over the potatoes and brown in a 350 to 400 degree oven.

Tip from Joey:
Instead of spreading the mashed potatoes over the top as with Shepherd's Pie, I like to serve it as my Mom always did. When I was growing up, we always poured the stew on top of the potatoes, instead of the other way around, so I'll stick with that. Just put two big bowls on the table and let everyone choose his own potato to stew ratio. Oh, and instead of cooking the chicken in the broth, you can save a little time by just using a store bought rotisserie chicken. They're so darn convenient, aren't they?

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