Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In every pot

I've been cooking a lot of chook recently. I'm afraid the family's getting a little tired of chicken stew, but it's just not getting old for me.

From Chicken stew

Looks like we've finally figured out how to make a good chicken stew. I have to confess that I made mediocre chicken stews for years, coasting on the fact that it's hard to really ruin chicken...

So here's how we do it:

First I take down my favourite stew pot: my 5-Quart cast iron Dutch oven by Lodge Logic. I chop up a large onion (or two medium onions, or...) and a few of those "baby carrots" and a couple sticks of celery. I put a healthy thwack of butter into the pan and get it hot. Onions, carrots, and celery go into the butter along with a couple garlic cloves. They get covered in a generous dose of salt and way too much black pepper, then I cook them until the onions are translucent. Once done, I empty the pot into a bowl.

From Chicken stew

Next I brown the chicken. I generally take some leftover bacon grease and add it to the pot, which is already hot. I put in more than enough to cover the bottom: there was a good 1/8 inch of grease in there this last time. I put three or four chicken thighs (skin on) into the grease, put salt and a generous layer of pepper on them, and let them brown. Now here's the thing: when I say "brown", I mean "mahogany". I essentially fry those thighs in that bacon grease for twenty or more minutes. When one side gets brown, I turn them over and do the other side. If I want to use more chicken I brown it in batches of three or four so they all get plenty of one-on-one time with the cast iron and bacon grease.

From Chicken stew

Once the chicken is brown, I put the onions, carrots, and celery back in the pot, cover it, and cook at medium for a good 45 minutes or so.

As the chicken is stewing in the onions, I cut some red potatoes, wash them, and pan-fry them. So I put some bacon grease on the griddle and lay out the potato chunks in it to fry. When one side is brown, I roll them to brown the other. I want the potatoes to have a healthy golden-brown crust.

Once the potatoes are done it's time to pull the skin off the chicken. Chicken skin is high in fat, so you really don't want to eat it.

Then the potatoes go into the pot along with frozen green beans, I cover it, and cook at until it's all done. I like to cook this at a medium on the stove-top, or 250--300F in the oven.

From Chicken stew

Be aware this is not low-fat cooking. It's highly likely you'll have a massive coronary while eating my cooking. But my goodness it's good.

1 comment:

Ames said...

That was AWESOME chicken stew.