Posted by: sialater | December 29, 2015

Sort of Irish Chicken and Herb Stew

To be honest, this thing is about as Irish as I am.  Which means, it might be able to wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day and not just to avoid getting pinched.

Serving Suggestion

A few years ago, I felt the urge to widen my repertoire beyond the boring grilled meat/veggie/starch I’d grown up with as a “healthy meal”.  Now… I’m not saying this is healthy, but it’s a bit better than the original.

Original inspiration

The original came from here.  As you can guess, lowering the salt and fat content was not high on “pub fare” priority’s lists.

Base recipe

The original calls for things like bullion cubes and absolutely nothing resembling a vegetable unless you squint.  (I don’t count carrots as a vegetable.  If you can make bread or a cake out of them, they’re not veggies, they’re carbs/starch.  Don’t come at me with the food pyramid or whatever.  Carrots caramelize.)  Besides, including MORE vegetables never hurt anyone.

2 tbsp EVOO

To start, get your slow cooker or dutch oven, or in my case, my Ninja.  Non-stick that sucker.

EVOO and tools

And wow!  I measured again.  2 tbsp of EVOO to spread around the bottom.   Time to prep your chicken.

2 breasts

Get your thawed chicken and remove all the extraneous nasty junk like that skin and extra fat.  Or in my case, just as if the butcher wanted to prove it was somehow extra organic or something….

chicken with rib bone

A rib bone! (Near my little finger. And that’s why you clean your chicken. Blech.)

cutting chicken

Quarter your chicken.  Because it’s just Bryan and I, I’ll be using two breasts.  This recipe will support up to 4 whole breasts.  But if we had that much meat, we’d be eating this a lot longer than just the 8 meals or so it’ll give us.

raw chicken breasts

Not pretty, I know.  For a few dollars more, you can buy chicken cutlets and halve those, but you still have to clean them up.  I got tired of paying for someone else to cut my chicken in half length-wise when I can still do it, even if it’s not as neat.

flour

You’ll need about 1 cup of flour.  2 tsp of paprika, and salt and pepper.  I’d say to taste, but are we really going to taste flour/paprika/salt & pepper?  I think not.  I just shook some out from the shaker.  You can use cracked pepper from a mill, but I’ve found when dredging the fine stuff sticks better.  I AM a little more generous with the pepper than the salt.  Salt I use sparingly, giving it only two or three shakes as opposed to maybe… five of the pepper.

flour mixture pre chicken

Lightly dredge your quartered chicken in the flour mixture.  Just make sure it’s coated, not globby.  You’re not making fried chicken.  (Hmmmm, I haven’t made that in ages.  I should do that.  Not that shrinking my mother’s bulk recipe for fried chicken downward for two people would be easy.  I swear she thought she was cooking for an army and not teenaged girls.)  DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY YET.

floured chicken

Place your chicken in the bottom of your pan/Ninja/Dutch oven.  If you plan on slow cooking this, this step should probably done the night before or ahead of time.  You can make this without this step and the next and just throw everything into the slow cooker for 8 hours, but I wouldn’t advise it.  It would lose a lot of flavor that way.

Chicken Browning

While your chicken is slowly turning the above color (and you only care about the outside, don’t worry about cooking it through), you’re going to prep your vegetables and potatoes.

six gold potatoes

I used 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, but red will also work.  As will Russet.  I just wouldn’t use 6 Russet.  Maybe 4 unless they’re very small.  (Food safety tip: I’m only using the same cutting board as the chicken because they’re all being cooked in the same pot.  If I weren’t, I would either wash this, or get a new board.)

type of potatoes

Better picture of the type.  Not organic, but those are insanely expensive for potatoes.  So, regular, plain old potatoes.

Cubed potatoes

Cube your potatoes and set them aside until the chicken is browned.

Medium whole onion

You’ll need a medium whole onion.

Cubed Onion

Which you’ll also cube.  (I cut it in half, then made four length-wise cuts, then three width-wise.  The onion’s layers takes care of the rest of the division for you.  It’s nice when mother nature cooperates.)

Cubed Garlic Cloves

And… two garlic cloves, cubed.  A little over 1/4 cup, I believe is what I measured the last time I used that.

Take your chicken out of the pan/Ninja/Dutch oven is still hot and in the leftover oil, and without reducing the heat, dump your potatoes, onions and garlic into the bottom.

Onions Potatoes Garlic

Here’s where the herbs come in.  Throw two teaspoons of oregano into the potatoes.

Oregano

And because I refuse to use dried rosemary, especially since in Austin, people now use it for accent shrubbery (seriously, it’s in parking lots)….

Rosemary in pot

I got a small pot at HEB.  I’m not going to plant it in this yard since we’re not staying here, but where ever we go, it’ll get planted.

Rosemary

I cut off about that much and diced the leaves.  About two teaspoons.

At this point you’ll let the potatoes, herbs, onions and garlic cook in the oil until the onions, at least, are soft and the potatoes and garlic are slightly browned.  If you were going to use fresh vegetables, which I often do in this, you’d add about 3/4 pound of quartered baby carrots to the potato mix.  BUT… I’m not doing fresh veggies this time because I have these on hand:

Frozen vegetables

Go ahead and add all the rest of the veggies, fresh or frozen.  After the onions are soft and your potatoes are browned, it’s time for your broth.

White wine and broth

This time, we actually will cook with the wine.  And I have two boxes of broth because they’re neither of them whole.  So… we need 4 cups.  (I STILL had to go dig out a reserve container.  Thank God I stockpiled.  Heh, get it?  STOCKpiled?  I slay me.)  The wine is a Sauvignon Blanc, but a Chardonnay will do.  Just so long as it’s not a sweet wine.  (We finished the bottle at dinner.)

So, just to recap, 1 cup wine, 4 cups broth.  If you’re slow cooking, you may want to add a half cup more wine and 2 cups more broth — but AFTER everything’s in the pot, so you don’t over fill. Or if you’re calorie conscious, water will do.  Most of the flavor comes from the herbs, not the broth.

pre-broth better

At this stage, add in two tablespoons dried Italian or flat-leaf parsley.  (I don’t have a pic.  All I had was the stuff in my spice set and that that doesn’t have a label on it.)

Put the chicken back in the pot.

Irish Chicken and Herb Stew stirring

Remember that flour mixture from earlier?  If your broth is still too thin, or looks too much like broth, you can do one of two things.  Wait till the stew is bubbling, and sprinkle some of the flour mixture over the stew and stir it in quickly, making sure all lumps are dissolved…. or… (and this is something I’ve just learned with a different dish) get a small sauce pan, take out about 1 cup of the broth and try to get only the broth.  Herbs are fine, but no solid bits.  In that sauce pan, add the flour mixture a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly over medium heat, until you develop a thick paste with no lumps.  Add this back into the stew.  (This step, I don’t have pictures of, I’ll try to have it the next time I use this thickening method.)  This time, I used the flour-sprinkling method.  As you can see, it worked out all right.

Generally, if you slow cook, though, the potatoes will thicken things by themselves.

Irish Chicken and Herb Stew in pot

By the time it’s ready to serve, it should look like this.  I generally prefer fresh veggies as they don’t quite turn to mush as fast as the frozen, but sometimes, you use what’s on hand.

biscuit suggestion

We generally like to ruin all pretense at healthiness by throwing in some biscuits.

I ended up freezing half, even after Bryan took some to work for lunch.

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