December 18, 2014
One pot meals are always my favorite kind. With the busyness of the holidays all around us, I’ve been relying on simple meals to get us through. And really, I think simple meals are the best way to go most of the time anyway – holidays or not. I’ve also really been making an effort (thanks to Andrea’s inspiration) to focus on the quality of my ingredients. We don’t eat a ton of meat or poultry at our house, but when we do, I’m trying to seek out local organic, free-range sources. (This time I went with what I could find at Trader Joe’s out of sheer convenience. The quality and flavor are still great.) Because it’s winter, I’m also pulling out my Dutch oven for just about every meal. I love the way it can go from stovetop to oven and back again. This Chicken Root Vegetable Stew is all about using simple flavors to create something really satisfying and delicious. One of my very favorite cold weather veggies is celeriac, or celery root. It cooks up with a texture similar to a potato, but with the flavor of celery. I also added some cubed turnips, carrots, and potatoes.
This stew has a lot going on in the flavor department. It starts by building a good base flavor by searing the chicken pieces in butter. Then onions are added along with some white wine to deglaze the pan. That is followed by adding all the root veggies and chicken to the pot, chicken stock is poured over the top, it’s seasoned well, and everything goes into the oven for about an hour. By the end of that time, the broth is bursting with the flavor of the chicken and veggies, which are both tender and flavorful as well. We also like to add a little heavy cream at the end, or right before serving, but it’s completely optional. It just adds another level of richness to the broth. If you’re like me, you’ll be slurping that broth straight from the ladle just to make sure it tastes okay before placing it on the table. (wink, wink) I could drink that broth! Now, I always like to give a few notes to the recipes. If you don’t care for the veggies listed, totally substitute them with the ones you do like. Rutabagas could be added in. You could use all potatoes. Chopped kale could be added at the end. It’s totally up to you. This can also be made in a slow cooker, which is a great tool to utilize anytime, but especially during the holidays. Just sear the chicken in a regular frying pan in the butter. Add the onions and wine like the recipe says, then transfer that to the slow cooker and add everything else in and cook on HIGH for 2-4 hours, or LOW for 4-6 hours. It could maybe go for a little longer, but the vegetables will start to fall apart if they’re in there for too long. If you want to speed up the cooking process, use boneless, skinless chicken and cut the veggies into smaller pieces. I prefer using the skin-on, bone-in chicken because the flavor is superior. Totally up to you and what you can find or have access to.
To serve the stew, ladle it up into bowls with crusty bread on the side, or with a scoop of rice in the bowl, or eat it as is. We are usually so hungry and the anticipation is so great after that hour of delicious smells wafting through the house, it’s all we can do to actually use a bowl. Ha! But seriously, this stew is so good. It’s the perfect thing to make for a small crowd and it’s really hearty and satisfying.
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 whole free range, organic chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or 8 chicken thighs), bone-in and skin-on
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 celeriac (celery root), peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 large or 2 small turnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2-3 large red potatoes, cut into large chunks
- 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups organic chicken stock
- Salt and black pepper
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ cup organic heavy cream (optional)
- For serving - crusty bread or cooked rice
- Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the butter and let it foam and melt. Place the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan, working in two batches, if needed. Cook for 3-5 minutes then turn over and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add the onion to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, allowing the onion to soften. Scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Next add the wine to deglaze the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes, then turn off heat. Some of the wine will remain.
- To the Dutch oven, add the cubed vegetables and garlic. Place the chicken pieces on top. Pour the chicken broth over the top Season well with salt and pepper, and add the thyme sprigs. Cover with lid. Place in oven and cook for 45-60 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. The internal temperature should be between 160-165°F and juices should run clear. Remove from oven and let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. If using, gently stir in the heavy cream. (The veggies will be very tender, so don't stir too hard!)
- To serve - ladle into bowls and serve with crusty bread or rice.