The Italians have a saying which I adore, “Sette cose fa la zupa”. It means that soup does these seven things: relieves your hunger, quenches your thirst, fills your stomach, cleans your teeth, makes you sleep, helps you digest, and colors your cheeks. Other than the cleaning of teeth, which I’ll leave to my toothbrush and floss, I totally agree. And when it is chilly out, as it certainly is these days here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, few things are as completely warming and satisfying as a piping hot bowl of wholesome and hearty soup. Recipes like this one, combined with a salad or additional vegetable side dish, are well rounded examples of healthy eating.
A standard chicken soup is okay, but to me, adding a thickening roux (butter and flour, briefly cooked together to form a paste) is that one step that takes it to the more satiating “stew” level. But for my gluten free friends roux is not an option, so here at Green Mountain, we keep the chicken stew gluten free, and slightly lower in saturated fat, by thickening it with a cornstarch slurry (water and cornstarch). If you are going to make this stew for the purpose of consumption in a day or two, or if you’re going to freeze it, hold off on adding the slurry until right before you eat it. Happy cooking!
Hearty Chicken Stew
1 pound chicken breast
2 teaspoons olive oil
2/3 cup onion, chopped
2/3 cup carrot, chopped
2/3 cup celery, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch cayenne
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes (about two medium sized potatoes – I would reccommend Yukon gold)
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
to taste black pepper
to taste salt
4 tablespoons scallion
Place the whole chicken breasts in a pot, cover with several inches of water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, for 1 hour. Skim off the fat and chop the chicken.
In another pot, saute the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in the olive oil until the onion starts to become transparent, stirring occasionally. Add the tarragon, thyme, basil, and cayenne, stir for 20 seconds, and add the chicken and the broth in which it cooked. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about a half an hour.
Add the potatoes to the pot. When they are starting to get tender, add the peas.
In a small bowl, combine the cold water and cornstarch and stir well. Whisk into the soup. Continue to simmer another ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Taste and adjust seasonings with the salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions if you so desire.
What’s your favorite dish to warm you from the inside out?