I think that for many people, the word "stew" doesn't hold a lot of positive images. I know that when I was growing up, I dreaded coming home and hearing my mom tell my sisters to stay out of the kitchen because she was making stew. I think it was the beef and the chunky broth that really turned me off as a kid.
But what exactly is "stew"?
For me, now, it's just a way better version of soup! And don't get me wrong -- I love soup. Now that the weather is changing, it wouldn't be surprising for me to eat soup 3 or 4 nights a week. It's comforting, flavorful, and very healthy. But where a stew really picks up the slack dropped by it's sister dish is in how filling it can be. It's a beautiful thing :)
Last night, my best friend asked me to come over. "We can watch TV, cook, and hang out...." which translates roughly to "Come over and make me dinner. Maybe I'll chop something for you during commercials..." LOL
I truly don't mind -- I love to cook for other people! And it's amazingly satisfying to prepare something for someone you care about and have them really enjoy it.
My best friend asked what I thought I was going to want -- and I said soup.
His response: But... I'm hungry...
So the pressure was on -- make something hearty! So here's what I came up with...
2 red potatoes
1 tbs butter
1 large yellow onion
3 stalks celery
2 large carrots
2 cloves garlic
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
4 tbs fresh thyme
2 10 ounce cans chicken stock
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup grated parmigiana-reggiano
In a small pot, bring enough water to cover the potatoes to a boil. Pierce the potatoes with a fork multiple times, then boil for 10 minutes. Set aside.
While those boil, chop the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the veggies and cook for three minutes. Chop the chicken breasts to about 1 inch cubes. Add to the veggies and let cook another 5 minutes. Chop the potatoes to 1/2 inch pieces and add to the pot. Add in the thyme. Let the mixture work for another 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste.
Lower heat to medium, and bring the pot back up to a rolling low boil. Cover, and let cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove the lid. Stir in the cheese. Let sit for a few minutes, and serve! Will make about 4 servings.
If you're not feeding multiple people, let the stew cool while you eat your first bowl. Then divide the remaining stew into small plastic containers (3) and either freeze or refrigerate until you're ready to enjoy it again.
That's the great thing about being single and cooking stews. It's cheap to make a big pot like this, it will feed you multiple times throughout the week, it's very satisfying, and it's certainly not anything you need to feel guilty about having!