stewed greatness

Wow. It’s been almost a week since my last post. Why, you ask? Good question. I’ve been busy, but I’m always busy, so who knows.

This past week, convenience was key. I bought a large chicken on sale for $10 on Sunday, decided to stew it Monday, made tortilla soup using half the chicken on Tuesday, and used the rest to make a cashew chicken and veggies concoction on Thursday.

Stewed chickens are nothing new to me. Growing up, I remember my mom stewing a chicken on Saturday afternoons in preparation for a Sunday casserole after church. When I was young, I thought the process was gross, but the end product delicious. In college, I took my first crack at stewing a chicken to make some sorely missed southern casseroles. In the years since, I’ve probably only stewed a couple whole chickens. After all, buying boneless chicken breasts is much easier. But there’s a huge difference in the flavor and juiciness. And that dark meat has really grown on me over the years. 

Disclaimer: Vegetarians beware. 

How to Stew a Chicken

First, trim off as much fat as you can. I didn’t worry too much about the fat on the legs and wings, but focused on the breast.

Then, place the chicken in a large pot and fill with water until it comes up about two thirds the height of the chicken.
Add diced onion, carrots and celery (I didn’t have celery, so I added some celery salt–that has to count for something), and season with sea salt and ground black pepper.
Bring to boil, then turn down heat, cover and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes.
Once chicken is cooked, remove from pot and set it on a plate to cool off so you can ‘pick’ it.
Save the broth, because it’s so much better than the store-bought stuff. I used the broth to make Chicken Tortilla soup the next night. I’ve made Chicken Tortilla soup in the past, and this version was very similar.
I simply reheated my broth in a large pot, threw in diced zucchini and onions, half of my stewed and shredded chicken and two cans of Rotel tomatoes.
I let it simmer for a good 30 minutes before serving it, topped with fresh tomato, avocado and habanero cheese–and let me tell you, that cheese was spicy! Of course, my tastebuds are wimps!
I’m heading to visit my sister in Bluffton, S.C., this weekend. Can’t wait for fresh seafood! I’ll share the cashew chicken recipe soon.

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