CSA Bounty Chicken Stew

Thursday, 27 Oct 2011

Each week when our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share comes from Potomac Vegetable Farms, we are overrun with vegetables and I need to get creative to use them all.  This week, I put some of almost everything we got into a quick chicken stew. (prepping the vegetables isn’t that quick but the cooking part is).  I used as a template Mark Bittman’s Chicken Not Pie recipe from Runner’s World, a great recipe the way it is.  Instead of the carrots, snowpeas, red potatoes and asparagus in his recipe, I used our bountiful selection including green peppers, cabbage, kohlrabi (it was my first time cooking this — prep tips here), turnips, broccoli, fresh dill, onions and garlic.  The recipe uses chicken breast and can be served over rice or noodles (brown rice or whole wheat pasta if you want to health it up a little.)  Perhaps this is not a true stew since the chicken is cooked early on and added back in at the end, but I’m at a loss for what else to call it.

Voila, the prepped vegetables.  Ingredient-wise, I followed the Bittman recipe (hence the vegetable broth, white wine and lemon juice above) except for substituting the types of vegggies, and using dill instead of thyme.  The vegetables and quantities I used are as follows:

1/2 large kohlrabi, cut into 1″ cubes

2 white potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes

2 small turnips,  cut into 1″ cubes

1/4 cabbage, roughy chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 onion, sliced or roughly chopped

1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets

3 small green bell peppers, cut into 1″ chunks

1 small bunch of fresh dill, torn into small pieces (add as seasoning to taste)

Step 1:  saute onions and garlic in olive oil.

Step 2:  Add broth, white wine and dill and bring to a boil.  I always find that I wish there was more liquid when I get to the end of this recipe, so I add at least another 1/2 cup of broth for good measure.

Step 3:  Add chicken. I used about a pound of chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes.  Bittman’s recipe has you cook the chicken breasts or tenders whole in the liquid and remove when barely cooked.  I’ve had trouble getting the chicken to the right doneness with this approach, so I cut it up first (and also seasoned it with salt and pepper).  It cooks really fast this way, so you have to be careful not to overcook it in this step, or when you add it back in at the end.  When the chicken is cooked in this step, remove it to a separate bowl with a slotted spoon.

Step 4:  Add vegetables to the cooking liquid. I like to add the vegetables in two bunches:  the ones that cook more slowly first (potatoes, kohlrabi, turnips), then after 10 minutes, the faster-cooking vegetables (peppers, cabbage, broccoli).  I learned this the hard way this time — I put everything but the cabbage in at first, and the broccoli and peppers got overdone while I was waiting for the potatoes, etc. to cook.  At this stage you can add a little more olive oil, or a couple pats of butter, along with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper to add flavor. Simmer/boil until the vegetables are tender or close to it.

Step 5:  Add back in the chicken and its juices, and heat through.

And with that, it’s ready to serve!  We had it with rice this time.  In the past we’ve even eaten without an extra starch — the potatoes make it substantial enough that you don’t have to add more carbs.  On the other hand, it’s also great with some nice, hot, crusty bread on a cold day.

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