I made this chicken stew in the last week of October, two pots of it, and everyone loved it. There were no leftovers. When I made it again – repeat.
This stew is easy and once you’ve got your prep out of the way, it only takes about forty minutes to cook. I made it on the fly, I winged it…the only thing that stopped me from posting it sooner was getting the measurements down. Once upon a time, I used to measure spices with teaspoons and sometimes tablespoons but now I rarely do unless I’m following a written recipe. Most days I just eyeball the amounts. (Eventually I’ll start eyeballing the amounts for those written recipes, too, if I make them enough times to know the recipes by heart.)
I tend to think of my own culinary creativity (and I don’t even always think of it consciously as such) in terms of baking – for example, I will get a sudden inspiration to bake something but not usually to cook – but making this stew has taught me that creativity can also happen in cooking. I’m actually proud of this stew! The highest compliment I’ve got is from my Mum, who said it reminded her of something we’d get at Whole Foods from the hot soup section.
I kind of knew it all along, but it’s only now that I realized that cooking doesn’t always mean that it’s about just getting food on to the table. When cooking is just seen and done as a chore, something that “has to be done”, there is no joy. It’s a duty, but nothing more. When I was first getting into the kitchen, cooking, and the occasional baking, was a hobby. And I didn’t always often do it. As I got older and helped out more, it became less of a hobby and more of a necessity that I didn’t think much of. The process didn’t excite me in the same way that baking did. But tasting this stew gave me joy again. Cooking can be creative and it has been shown, time and time again, that it is.
Last week marked the third blogiversary of Z’s Cup of Tea! It’s kind of hard to believe. I’ve been blessed with kindness and amazing support in these three years of food blogging from my family and friends, including those in the gluten-free community, and have had some great opportunities that would have otherwise not been open to me. I’ve also virtually met (not yet in real life) some fantastic people. Thank you, everyone, and here’s to a happy fourth year of blogging!
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter (optional; if not using butter, increase olive oil to 4 tbsp.)
4 to 6 chicken thighs (partially frozen chicken is fine; use bone-in or boneless, skin-on or skinless) or 6 to 9 drumsticks
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour, plus extra for thickening stew
1/2 to 1 large onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 tsp. summer savoury
3 tsp. ground sage
2 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 or 3 large carrots, peeled and roll cut
6 medium or large potatoes (such as russet), peeled and cubed
1 tsp. dried dill
3 or 4 tsp. beef bouillon concentrate
If you’re using boneless, skinless chicken, you may cut the chicken into cubes first or use them whole and cut it up later after it’s done cooking.
Dredge the chicken thighs in the tapioca starch, shaking off any excess starch. Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat and add chicken. Fry for 6 minutes, on each side, until it starts to brown and crisps. (If the chicken thighs are whole, it’s okay to have them close together.)
Add onion, garlic, summer savoury, sage, oregano, and black pepper. Add enough water for a simmer (do not cover chicken) and cover, cooking for 20 minutes. At the 20-minute mark, add carrots, potatoes, and dill. Cover with water (I just use a glass and add enough water until it covers the chicken and vegetables) and add beef bouillon concentrate. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, cooking for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft and carrots are tender.
Remove chicken and cut up or shred, throwing away bones and skin or save bones for making stock. Return chicken to pot. (Skip this step if you cut up the chicken before cooking.) Mix 2 teaspoons of tapioca starch with a small amount of water and add to stew, stirring. The stew should be thick and slightly opaque.
Serve over rice or on its own, and season. Enjoy!