Delicious Chicken Stew Served in a Bowl, Garnished with Fresh Herbs.

Chicken Stew

Video Recipe


Chicken stew is more than just a dish; it’s a comforting embrace in a bowl. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or simply craving something warm and hearty, chicken stew never disappoints. In this first section of our comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the rich history of chicken stew, its flavor profile, and the health benefits it offers.

Key Takeaways

  1. Versatility in Flavor and Ingredient Pairings: Chicken stew is adaptable in flavor with options for herb, spice, and wine additions. The choice of diverse side dishes and the exploration of international culinary twists exemplify its versatility in satisfying varying taste preferences.
  2. Health Benefits and Nutritional Profile: Besides being tasty, chicken stew is low-calorie and nutrient-rich, offering proteins, essential vitamins, antioxidants, and benefits in hydration and digestion, marking it as a nutritious and wholesome dish.
  3. Culinary Techniques and Common Mistakes: The guide outlines key techniques and common errors in chicken stew preparation, such as browning, seasoning, and pot choice, offering tips to avoid pitfalls and ensure a flavorful stew.
  4. Modern Cooking Gadgets for Chicken Stew Preparation: The ease and efficiency of using modern appliances like slow cookers and Instant Pots are highlighted, showcasing how these gadgets simplify the cooking process while ensuring a delectable chicken stew outcome.

A Brief History of Chicken Stew

Chicken stew, like many traditional dishes, has roots that span across various cultures and regions. From the spicy African versions to the milder European ones, every region has its unique take on this classic dish. In Romania, for instance, chicken stew often incorporates traditional ingredients and spices, making it a beloved dish for many. If you’re interested in exploring more Romanian delicacies, you might want to check out the Romanian Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe, Stuffed Grape Leaves, or the comforting Sarmale, which offers a delightful culinary experience.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Chicken Stew Ingredients.
  • Chicken – 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds) of chicken thighs
  • Potatoes – 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds)
  • Onions – 2 (approximately 250 grams or 9 ounces)
  • Sunflower Oil – 80 ml (5 tablespoons)
  • Tomato Juice – 250 ml (1 cup)
  • Bay Leaves – A few
  • Peppercorns – A few
  • Salt – To taste
  • Pepper – To taste
  • Fresh Dill – 1 link
  • Water – 1.5 liters (50 fluid ounces)

How to Make Chicken Stew

1. Prepare the Chicken Thighs

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.

Start by removing the skin from the chicken thighs using a paper towel to grip it.

2. Frying the Chicken Thighs with Salt and Pepper

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.

Lightly fry the chicken thighs on low heat for about 10 minutes on each side, giving them a nice glow. As you fry, sprinkle the sides with salt and pepper for taste.

3. Prepare and Cook the Onions

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.

While the chicken is frying, finely chop or grate the onions. Add them to the chicken and let them cook together for another 10 minutes on low heat.

4. Add Tomato Juice, Water, Peppercorns and Bay Leaves

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.

After the onions have cooked, add the tomato juice to the pot. Let it simmer for a few minutes before adding the water. Add the peppercorns and the bay leaves. and continue to simmer the stew on low heat for 30 minutes.

5. Prepare and Add the Potatoes

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.

While the stew is simmering, peel and cube the potatoes. Add them to the stew and let everything cook together for another 25 minutes.

6. Add Fresh Dill

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.

Turn off the stove and stir in finely chopped dill or any other herbs you prefer. Let the stew rest with the lid on for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

7. Serving

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.

Serve the chicken and potato stew hot, preferably in deep bowls. It pairs wonderfully with a side of radish or cabbage salad or pickles.

Flavor Profile of Chicken Stew

The beauty of chicken stew lies in its versatility. At its core, chicken stew consists of tender chicken pieces simmered in a flavorful broth with a medley of vegetables. Common ingredients include potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery. However, the flavor can be enhanced with the addition of herbs and spices.

Thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves are popular choices that elevate the stew’s aroma and taste. Some variations even include a touch of wine or tomato paste for added depth. For those who enjoy a bit of heat, adding paprika or chili flakes can give the stew a spicy kick.

If you’re looking for inspiration, this collection offers a range of chicken stew recipes that cater to different palates.

Health Benefits of Chicken Stew

Chicken stew isn’t just delicious; it’s also packed with health benefits. According to Freshmenu and MyPlate, chicken stew is a low-calorie dish brimming with essential nutrients.

  1. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Chicken is an excellent source of vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin A. These vitamins play a crucial role in boosting immunity and maintaining healthy skin and vision.
  2. High Protein Content: Chicken provides a substantial amount of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.
  3. Antioxidant Properties: The vegetables commonly used in chicken stew, like carrots and celery, are rich in antioxidants. These compounds help combat free radicals in the body, promoting overall health.
  4. Hydration: The broth in chicken stew is hydrating and can be especially beneficial during cold months or when one is feeling under the weather. In fact, chicken soup has been dubbed a natural remedy for colds for generations.
  5. Digestive Health: The fiber from the vegetables aids in digestion, making chicken stew a gut-friendly choice.

For those who are health-conscious, chicken stew is a dish that offers both taste and nutrition.

Side Dishes for Chicken Stew

A hearty bowl of chicken stew is a comforting meal on its own, but the right side dishes can elevate the dining experience. Here are some suggestions to complement and contrast the flavors and textures of chicken stew.

The Classic Bread Pairing

  • Crusty Bread: A piece of fresh crusty bread is perfect for soaking up the flavorful broth.
  • Dinner Rolls: Soft, warm dinner rolls can be a comforting accompaniment.
  • Garlic Bread: The bold flavor of garlic bread can stand up well to a hearty chicken stew.

Vegetables and Salads

  • Steamed Vegetables: A simple side of steamed vegetables can provide a light, healthy contrast.
  • Roasted Vegetables: The caramelized flavors of roasted vegetables can complement the savory notes of the stew.
  • Garden Salad: A fresh salad with a vinaigrette dressing can cut through the richness of the stew and add a refreshing element to the meal.

Catering to Personal Preferences

The ideal side dishes for chicken stew largely depend on personal preferences and dietary restrictions. It’s fun to experiment with different pairings to discover what complements your stew best.

The Joy of Discovery

Exploring different side dishes and discovering new favorite pairings is part of the joy of cooking and dining. Every meal presents an opportunity to try something new and create delightful culinary memories.

The versatility of chicken stew allows for a plethora of side dish options. Whether sticking to classic pairings or venturing into new culinary territories, the right side dishes can turn a simple bowl of chicken stew into a memorable meal.

Why Chicken Stew is Universal Comfort Food

  1. Warmth and Nourishment: Especially during colder months, a bowl of hot chicken stew provides warmth and nourishment. The combination of tender chicken, hearty vegetables, and flavorful broth is both filling and comforting.
  2. Healing Properties: As mentioned earlier, chicken stew, or its close cousin chicken soup, is often dubbed the “natural remedy” for colds and flu. The warm broth helps soothe sore throats, while the nutrients from chicken and vegetables boost immunity.
  3. Versatility: As we’ve seen in the recipe variations, chicken stew can be tailored to suit individual preferences. Whether you like it spicy, creamy, herb-infused, or loaded with vegetables, there’s a version for everyone.
  4. Affordability: Chicken stew is often made with simple, affordable ingredients. It’s a testament to how basic ingredients, when cooked with love and care, can transform into something truly special.
  5. Community and Sharing: Chicken stew is not just a dish; it’s an experience. It’s about sitting around the table with loved ones, sharing stories, and creating memories. It’s a dish that brings people together, fostering a sense of community and togetherness.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making Chicken Stew

The Path to Perfection: Evading Common Pitfalls

Mastering the art of chicken stew requires not only knowing the right steps but also being aware of common mistakes that could derail the culinary journey. Here’s a look at prevalent missteps and how to avoid them.

Rushing the Browning Process

A rushed browning process can lead to either undercooked or charred chicken. Ensure you take the time to brown the chicken well on all sides, as this step is crucial for flavor development.

Overcrowding the Pan

Overcrowding can result in steaming instead of searing, which is detrimental to achieving the desired flavors. Cook in batches if necessary to avoid this mistake.

Inconsistent Cut Sizes

Uniform cut sizes ensure even cooking. Inconsistent sizes can result in some pieces being overcooked while others remain undercooked.

Skimping on Seasoning

An inadequately seasoned stew can be quite bland. It’s essential to season the chicken well before cooking and adjust the seasoning again before serving.

Neglecting the Base

A flavorful base of aromatics such as onions, garlic, and herbs is crucial. Skipping or rushing this step can result in a lack of depth in flavor.

Using the Wrong Pot

The choice of pot matters. A heavy-bottomed pot that distributes heat evenly is ideal for making chicken stew.

Ignoring the Simmer

A rolling boil can lead to overcooked chicken and vegetables. Maintaining a gentle simmer is key to tender chicken and a well-cooked stew.

Skipping the Deglazing Step

Deglazing the pan after browning the chicken and sautéing the vegetables is essential to capture all the flavors. Ignoring this step can lead to a loss of flavor.

Overloading on Liquid

Too much liquid can dilute the flavors and result in a soup-like consistency. It’s advisable to start with a lesser amount and add more if necessary.

Neglecting the Final Taste Test

Before serving, it’s crucial to taste the stew and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Skipping this step can result in a dish that lacks the final flavor punch.

Cooking Duration for Tender Chicken

The Low and Slow Philosophy

Once the initial searing is done, the principle of ‘low and slow’ comes into play. Cooking the stew on a low heat for a longer period helps in breaking down the connective tissues in the chicken, rendering it tender.

Utilizing Slow Cookers and Pressure Cookers

Modern cooking appliances like slow cookers and pressure cookers can be a boon when aiming for tender chicken. They provide a controlled cooking environment, making it easier to achieve tender chicken without much hassle.

Enhancing Flavor in Chicken Stew

The Quest for Flavor: Beyond the Basics

Once the basic chicken stew recipe has been mastered, many are left wondering how to elevate the dish to a gourmet level. The good news is, enhancing flavor in chicken stew is a rewarding endeavor that can be achieved with a few simple tricks and the addition of some unexpected ingredients.

  • Herbs and Spices: Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and parsley, as well as spices like paprika and bay leaves, can significantly elevate the flavor profile of your stew.
  • Aromatics: Ingredients like garlic, onions, and celery form the aromatic base of many stews, contributing a depth of flavor.
  • Wine: A splash of white or red wine can add a sophisticated flavor. Make sure to let it simmer well to cook off the alcohol while leaving behind a rich taste.

Browning: The Maillard Reaction

One of the fundamental steps to achieving a flavorful stew is browning the chicken. This process, known as the Maillard Reaction, creates a rich depth of flavor and gives the chicken a beautiful golden color. It’s a step that shouldn’t be rushed; ensuring a good sear on the chicken will pay off in taste dividends.

Deglazing: Unlocking Hidden Flavors

After browning the chicken and sautéing the vegetables, there will be bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. These bits are flavor gold. By adding a bit of liquid (wine, broth, or even water) and scraping the bottom of the pan, you’ll deglaze it, unlocking a treasure of flavors that will meld into your stew.

The Choice of Liquids: More than Just Water

The liquids you choose to use in your stew can significantly affect its flavor. Chicken or vegetable broth can add a lot more flavor compared to water. Some adventurous cooks even use beer or cider to bring a unique taste to their stew.

Low and Slow: The Path to Flavor Development

Cooking your stew slowly on a low heat is a pathway to flavor development. It allows the ingredients to meld together and the chicken to become tender, absorbing the flavors from the broth and vegetables.

Enhancing Umami: The Fifth Taste

Umami, often described as a savory or meaty taste, can be enhanced in your chicken stew by adding ingredients like tomatoes, mushrooms, or even a splash of soy sauce. These ingredients bring a new level of complexity to the stew’s flavor profile.

Seasoning: A Balancing Act

Proper seasoning is crucial. Besides salt and pepper, consider using a dash of acid like lemon juice or vinegar to brighten the flavors, especially if your stew feels a bit flat.

Layering Flavors: A Step-by-Step Approach

Building flavors step by step is a wise approach. Start with a good base of aromatics, followed by well-seasoned and browned chicken, then build up with herbs, spices, and liquids, tasting and adjusting as you go.

Experiment with International Twists

Drawing inspiration from different cuisines can lead to exciting flavor discoveries. For instance, exploring the spices used in Middle Eastern dishes like Stuffed Grape Leaves could introduce a new flavor palette to your stew.

Garnish with Freshness

A fresh garnish before serving, like chopped parsley, dill, or a squeeze of lemon, can add a refreshing contrast to the hearty, slow-cooked flavors of the stew.

Infusing Personal Touches: A Journey of Flavor Discovery

Ultimately, creating a flavorful chicken stew is a personal journey. Experimenting with different ingredients, techniques, and drawing inspiration from various cuisines will not only lead to a tastier stew but also a more enjoyable cooking experience.

Making Chicken Stew in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Embracing Modern Cooking Gadgets

The traditional stovetop method is not the only way to create a delightful chicken stew. Modern kitchen appliances like slow cookers and Instant Pots offer convenience and consistency, making them excellent options for busy individuals or those new to cooking.

The Slow Cooker: A Set-and-Forget Marvel

  • Ease of Use: Simply add your ingredients, set the temperature and cooking time, and let the slow cooker work its magic.
  • Tender Perfection: The slow, steady heat tenderizes the chicken and allows flavors to meld beautifully over several hours.
  • Less Monitoring Required: Unlike stovetop cooking, there’s less need for constant monitoring, freeing up your time for other tasks.

The Instant Pot: Speed and Efficiency

  • Pressure Cooking Feature: The Instant Pot’s pressure cooking feature significantly speeds up the cooking process while still achieving tender chicken.
  • Multifunctional: Beyond pressure cooking, it offers multiple functions including sautéing, which is handy for browning the chicken and sautéing vegetables before stewing.
  • One-Pot Convenience: It allows for a one-pot cooking experience, minimizing cleanup.

Adapting Recipes: From Stovetop to Gadgets

When transitioning a stovetop chicken stew recipe to a slow cooker or Instant Pot, some adaptations are necessary.

  • Liquid Reduction: Both gadgets retain moisture well, so reduce the liquid in your recipe to prevent a watery stew.
  • Layering Ingredients: Place hardier vegetables at the bottom, closer to the heat source, with the chicken on top to ensure even cooking.
  • Timing Adjustments: Cooking times will vary, so refer to your appliance’s manual or look for recipes specifically designed for these gadgets to gauge the correct cooking duration.

Thickening Chicken Stew

The Pursuit of the Perfect Consistency: Thickening Techniques

Achieving the right consistency is crucial for a satisfying chicken stew. A well-thickened stew envelopes each chunk of chicken and vegetable in a flavorful embrace. Here’s a guide to various thickening techniques and ingredients that can help attain that hearty consistency.

Flour: The Traditional Thickener

  • Roux: A mixture of flour and fat (usually butter) cooked together before adding the liquid is a classic thickening agent.
  • Beurre Manié: A paste made by mixing flour with softened butter which can be whisked into the stew towards the end of cooking.

Starches: Effective Alternatives

  • Cornstarch: A gluten-free alternative to flour, cornstarch provides a clear, glossy finish.
  • Arrowroot: Similar to cornstarch but with a more neutral flavor and better freeze-thaw stability.
  • Potato Starch: Another gluten-free option that can withstand longer cooking times.

Vegetable Purées: A Natural Approach

  • Potato: Puréed potatoes can add creaminess and thickness to the stew.
  • Root Vegetables: Purées of carrots, parsnips or other root vegetables can also serve as natural thickeners.

Reduction: The Low-and-Slow Method

  • Simmering: Allowing the stew to simmer uncovered will reduce the liquid, naturally thickening the stew over time.

Creamy Additions: Indulgent Thickening Agents

  • Cream: A splash of cream can add richness and a slightly thicker consistency.
  • Coconut Milk: A dairy-free alternative that also adds a unique flavor.

Contemporary Thickeners

  • Xanthan Gum: A little goes a long way with this powerful thickener, which is also gluten-free.
  • Agar Agar: A vegetarian alternative derived from seaweed, known for its strong thickening properties.

Testing and Adjusting: A Step-by-Step Process

Thickening is often a trial-and-error process. It’s advisable to start with a small amount of thickener, then add more if necessary, while continuously stirring to assess the consistency.

Incorporating Vegetables in Chicken Stew

Embracing the Garden: Vegetable Infusions in Chicken Stew

The incorporation of vegetables in chicken stew not only enhances its nutritional value but also adds a spectrum of flavors and textures. Here’s a journey through the vegetable kingdom and how these garden gems can be seamlessly incorporated into your chicken stew.

Root Vegetables: The Sturdy Companions

  • Potatoes: A classic choice, potatoes add a comforting starchiness to the stew.
  • Carrots and Parsnips: Their sweet, earthy flavors complement the savory notes of chicken.
  • Turnips and Rutabagas: These often overlooked roots can add a unique flavor and texture.

Aromatic Vegetables: The Flavor Builders

  • Onions and Garlic: These aromatics are the foundation of flavor in many stews.
  • Celery: Its subtle, earthy flavor adds depth to the stew.

Colorful Additions: More than Just Aesthetics

  • Bell Peppers: Their sweet, slightly tangy flavor and vibrant colors can brighten the stew.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes can add a rich color and a tangy undertone.

Leafy Greens: A Healthful Toss

  • Spinach and Kale: A late addition of these greens can add a nutritional boost and a pop of color.
  • Cabbage: Its tender yet slightly crunchy texture adds a pleasant contrast.

Leguminous Vegetables: Protein and Fiber

  • Green Peas and Green Beans: These green legumes add a fresh, sweet flavor and a contrasting texture.

Mushrooms: The Umami Boost

  • Button or Cremini Mushrooms: They lend an earthy, umami flavor, enhancing the savory profile of the stew.

Herbs: The Fragrant Finish

  • Parsley, Thyme, and Rosemary: Fresh or dried, herbs can add a fragrant aroma and a layer of flavor.

Experimentation: The Spice of Variety

  • Exotic Vegetables: Don’t shy away from experimenting with less common vegetables like fennel or leeks.
  • Seasonal Vegetables: Incorporating seasonal vegetables ensures freshness and optimal flavor.

Preparation and Cooking Time: Key to Vegetable Integration

  • Cutting Size: Uniform cutting ensures even cooking.
  • Cooking Duration: Hardier vegetables need more cooking time, while tender vegetables and greens should be added later to retain their texture and color.

The Wholesome Harmony: Vegetables and Chicken Stew

Incorporating a variety of vegetables in chicken stew creates a harmonious blend of flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits, making each bowl a comforting, wholesome delight.


Hearty Plate of Chicken Stew with Vegetables.

Chicken Stew

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

A timeless classic, this Chicken Stew combines tender chicken thighs with hearty potatoes and aromatic seasonings to create a comforting dish perfect for any season. Infused with the rich flavors of tomato and fresh dill, every spoonful offers a symphony of tastes that warms the soul. Whether you're seeking solace on a cold winter evening or a wholesome meal for a family gathering, this stew promises satisfaction in every bite. Pair with a crisp radish or cabbage salad and some pickles on the side for a complete, heartwarming meal.

Ingredients

  • Chicken – 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds) of chicken thighs
  • Potatoes – 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds)
  • Onions – 2 (approximately 250 grams or 9 ounces)
  • Sunflower Oil – 80 ml (5 tablespoons)
  • Tomato Juice – 250 ml (1 cup)
  • Bay Leaves – A few
  • Peppercorns – A few
  • Salt – To taste
  • Pepper – To taste
  • Fresh Dill – 1 link
  • Water – 1.5 liters (50 fluid ounces)

Instructions

1. Prepare the Chicken Thighs

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.Start by removing the skin from the chicken thighs using a paper towel to grip it.

2. Frying the Chicken Thighs with Salt and Pepper

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.Lightly fry the chicken thighs on low heat for about 10 minutes on each side, giving them a nice glow. As you fry, sprinkle the sides with salt and pepper for taste.

3. Prepare and Cook the Onions

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.While the chicken is frying, finely chop or grate the onions. Add them to the chicken and let them cook together for another 10 minutes on low heat.

4. Add Tomato Juice and Water

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.After the onions have cooked, add the tomato juice to the pot. Let it simmer for a few minutes before adding the water. Continue to simmer the stew on low heat for 30 minutes.

5. Prepare and Add the Potatoes

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.While the stew is simmering, peel and cube the potatoes. Add them to the stew and let everything cook together for another 25 minutes.

6. Add Fresh Dill

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.Turn off the stove and stir in finely chopped dill or any other herbs you prefer. Let the stew rest with the lid on for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

7. Serving

Process Shots Showing How to Make Chicken Stew.Serve the chicken and potato stew hot, preferably in deep bowls. It pairs wonderfully with a side of radish or cabbage salad or pickles.

Notes

  1. Simplicity and Affordability: This chicken and potato stew stands out for its simplicity. It doesn't require fancy techniques or expensive ingredients, making it a budget-friendly choice.
  2. Customizable: The stew is versatile. Adjust the seasonings to your liking, add chili flakes for some heat, or modify the herb selection to suit your palate.
  3. Chicken Skin Removal: For the best texture in the stew, it's recommended to remove the skin from the chicken thighs, as it can become soggy when boiled.
  4. Serving Suggestions: This hearty stew pairs beautifully with sides like radish or cabbage salad and pickles. It's a well-rounded dish suitable for lunch or dinner.
  5. Leftovers: The flavors meld even more the next day, making this stew an excellent choice for leftovers.
  6. Budget-Friendly Meal: Emphasizing its affordability, this stew is a top pick when you're looking to create a delicious meal without breaking the bank.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 400
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 500mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 25g

The nutritional information provided is approximate and for reference purposes only. Actual values may vary due to factors such as product brands, preparation methods, and ingredient substitutions. The provided values may not include all nutrients and should not be relied upon as the sole source of nutritional information. Always read product labels and consider individual factors when making dietary choices. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies or adverse effects resulting from the use of this information.

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Author

  • Diana

    Hey! I’m Diana. a 30-year-old culinary enthusiast with a passion for creating mouthwatering dishes that tantalize your taste buds. With over 15 years of cooking experience under my apron, I’ve spent countless hours in the kitchen honing my skills, experimenting with flavors, and discovering the most delectable recipes.

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