I was in the mood for some good old fashioned simple comfort food. This winter has been an odd one, veering from oddly mild to bitterly cold in the blink of an eye. I needed something that would warm me up from the inside out but at the same time I didn’t want anything too heavy and fat laden. A girl has to compensate for eating an entire tub of Ben and Jerrys on occasion, no?
This Simple Chicken Stew hit the spot perfectly. There’s nothing fussy here, either in the preparation or in the flavours. This lack of adornment really lets the flavours stand on their own and boy do they shine. There really is something so very deeply satisfying about the combination of chicken and vegetables. It’s been a classic for centuries and while you can do all sorts of fancy variations there is absolutley no need to. This is food that doesn’t just feed the body, it nourishes the soul! I defy you to eat this and not come away satisfied and replete.
2 chicken drumsticks (with bone and skin)
2 chicken thighs (with bone and skin)
1 carrot, sliced
1 leek, sliced
1 small onion, quartered
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/4 swede, chopped into ~1cm cubes (3 medium sized turnips or 2 potatoes work well here too)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
gnocchi to serve (a nice halfway house between potatoes and pasta I think!)
- Heat the oven to gas mark 5 and boil a kettle.
- Heat a splash of oil in a casserole pan on the hob.
- Add the chicken and brown lightly.
- Add all of your vegetables and herbs.
- Pour over enough hot water to cover everything.
- Give it a little bit of a stir and season well then pop the lid on and pop it in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and check that it’s piping hot throguhout.
- Get your gnocchi cooked while your stew is cooling a little. No one likes a burnt mouth!
You can use just about any winter veg that you like here, don’t feel the need to stick to what I’ve said.
If you like a thicker sauce you can add a little cornflour mixed with a splash of cold water at the end and simmer until it thickens. Alternatively, you can dust the chicken in corn flour before cooking. I prefer the lighter stock but I know that it’s a matter of personal taste!