A hearty West African-inspired stew of chicken thighs and legs, sweet potatoes and peanuts that is perfect for a chilly day.
Use chicken legs, thighs or wings for this recipe. They have more flavor and will hold up better with the flavors of the stew than breast meat.
- 2-3 pounds chicken legs, thighs and/or wings
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
- A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
- 2-3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- Salt and black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1 Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Salt the chicken pieces well, pat them dry and brown them in the oil. Don’t crowd the pot, so do this in batches. Set the chicken pieces aside as they brown.
2 Sauté the onions in the oil for 3-4 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and stir well to combine.
3 Add the chicken, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, coriander and cayenne and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and taste for salt, adding more if needed. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 90 minutes (check after an hour), or until the chicken meat easily falls off the bone and the sweet potatoes are tender.
4 Remove the chicken pieces and set them in a bowl to cool, until cool enough to touch. Remove and discard the skin if you want, or chop it and put it back into the pot. Shred the meat off the bones and put the meat back in the pot.
5 Adjust the seasonings for salt and cayenne, then add as much black pepper as you think you can stand—the stew should be peppery. Stir in the cilantro and serve by itself, or with simple steamed rice.
By Kelly Myers, from the Kelly Myers collection
A stewing hen has such deep chicken flavor to offer that is worth the lengthy cooking time required to tenderize its modest amount of meat. A stewing hen is an older laying chicken that is no longer productive. For the best quality, buy stewing hens from a farm that raises its birds on pasture. In this recipe, a hen stews with wine, herbs and tomato until falling-off-the-bone tender. The next day, the meat is picked and returned to the pot with the resulting tomato sauce to make a rich ragu. Serve the ragu over mashed potatoes or soft polenta, or on penne pasta with grated pecorino cheese.
|3||lb. stewing hen (or regular chicken; see Note)|
|2||Tbsp. olive oil|
|1||large yellow onion, cut into thin wedges|
|5||garlic cloves, peeled and crushed|
|2||tsp. chopped fresh rosemary|
|½||tsp. red chile flakes|
|¾||cup white wine|
|1||can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped|
|½||cup water, plus more as necessary|
|~||Pinch ground cloves|
|~||Zest of one lemon|
|2||tsp. fresh lemon juice (optional)|
|1||tsp. extra virgin olive oil|
|2||tsp. parsley, chopped|
- Remove legs from the bird and set aside. Cut off backbone, any excess fat gathered around the cavity, and wing tips; reserve bones and fat for stock. Set breast section on cutting board, meat side up. Use a mallet or other heavy object to whack the breastbone so that it cracks and lies flat. Sprinkle legs and breast with salt and pepper.
- Preheat a dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid over medium heat. Add oil. Add chicken and onion wedges and cook until the chicken browns on both sides, about 10 minutes. Turn onion wedges to prevent burning.
- Add rosemary, red chile flakes, and garlic, and sauté until garlic is fragrant. Add wine and let it cook down until almost evaporated. Add tomatoes, water, ground cloves, and lemon zest and stir. Turn heat down to very low and cover pot with a lid. Stir occasionally. Stew the chicken until the meat is tender when poked with a fork and beginning to fall off the bone; this may take more than 3 hours. The chicken should cook at an easy simmer. If the pot seems dry, add ¼ cup of water. Let the chicken cool to room temperature in the tomato sauce and store overnight.
- The next day, pick the chicken meat off the bone and return it to the tomato sauce. Save the skin and bones for making stock.
- Reheat ragu, adding additional water to loosen if necessary. Adjust seasoning, adding lemon juice if using. Sprinkle with parsley and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to finish.
If you use a regular chicken, which will have much more meat than a stewing hen of similar weight, you will need more tomatoes for the ragu; add another 14-oz. can.
This has become our most popular post! I have decided to up date a little which i will do in green! I am glad to hopefully have been able to add a little information out there about something that i am sure all our great-grand-mothers new like the back of their hand! It’s really so easy and very forgiving. Be flexible and creative with your herb and vegetable additions… I just use what i have on hand. You can use the broth portion of this recipe to make broth with 1 stew hen or as many as you could fit into your pot as well as any organic pastured reserved chicken bones you have.
Poultry that is processed at older than 1 year are considered a stew hen, soup bird or “fowl. These birds make for excellent eating, the best broth and chicken to use for any of your recipes. We have loads of golden broth in the freezer and I always have some bags of frozen chicken meat to pull out for quesidillas or soup etc… The trick is in cooking as this meat requires a long and slow cooking time and lots of moisture. According to Gina Bisco from the article Rediscovering Traditional Meats from Historic Chicken Breeds, it is important to keep temperature below 180 F. When the temperature goes over 180 F the protein fibers toughen. Therefore, after the initial boil to bring up foam I never let the pot boil and keep to a simmer.
Chicken Noodle soup
(for the broth)
1 stewing hen
4-5 garlic cloves
1-2 large onion
4-5 celery stalks with leaves
(for the soup)
reserved chicken diced up
1-Put chicken (or many chickens and any reserved bones if you are making a large batch of broth) in a pot then cover with cold water.
2- Bring to a low boil
3- Skim off foam that will surface
4. Add all other broth ingredients (whatever you have it’s good to save less than perfect veggies like carrot ends or inedible celery parts etc…in fridge to use- i don’t even peel my onion!).
5- Lower temperature and simmer until meat starts to fall off bone. Remove meat. It will seem stiff for quite a while! I cooked mine about 8 hrs… making sure there was enough water for all meat to be submerged-adding more water at times. As soon as it’s obviously breaking down and falling apart remove all chicken meat and reserve for soup or whatever you like and return bones to pot. The breast is always ready before the rest and it’s best to remove it first and cook the dark meat a little longer but i usually forget and it’s all good anyways!
6. Cook down a little more. You can also cook for another 1/2 day or overnight and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to extract the minerals from the bones giving you the most nutrition. Strain and then again with a cheese cloth for clear broth.
For soup- cook cut up veggies in olive oil or a little broth. Add some broth (you should have a good size of extra broth to freeze). Boil noodles add chicken and parsley salt and pepper to taste.
The basic differences between a broth and a stock lies in its “properties”. For example, a chicken broth will react differently when deglazing a sauté pan than a chicken stock. The reason for this is that the chicken stock will contain more gelée than chicken broth and will bind up the pan drippings into a pan sauce as the stock is reduced, replacing the alternative of cream or butter to aid in this process. The type of chicken parts used in the pot and the amount of extraction of gelée depends on the length of reduction. These are the key factors to consider in determining whether you are making chicken stock or chicken broth. Let us take a moment and review these key factors in chicken broth and chicken stock.
Chicken broth is usually made with chicken meat and chicken parts, with a high flesh to bone ratio. Whole chicken or assorted parts can be used. Fryers and roasters, both readily available at your local supermarket, do not produce satisfactory results. Stewing hens produce the best broth and are often available in the poultry section in your market. If you cannot find them do not hesitate to ring for assistance – the poultry manager will usually order them for you. For the more adventuresome, you may be able to locate someone who has a small flock of laying hens that are past their prime for egg production. Purchase one or two of them to slaughter and dress yourself. The reduction time for chicken broth at sea level is about 3 hours.
Chicken stock is made mostly of chicken parts that have a very low flesh to bone ratio. Backs, necks and breast bones produce the best stock. These boney parts are also readily available at your local supermarket, either in the case or by special order. It is also advantageous to buy whole chickens and cut them up yourself for other recipes. You can then freeze backbones, wing tips, and other parts not used in your original recipe until you are ready to make your stock. To achieve the maximum extraction of gelée from the chicken bones the reduction time at sea level is 6 hours. Water, vegetables, herbs, and salt are ingredients that are common to both stock and broth.
- 2 stewing hens about 5 lb. each
- 3 medium onions cut in half
- 4 large carrots trimmed and peeled
- 1 root end of a whole celery stalk, 4 inches long
- 3 medium fresh tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cup parsley, stems only
- ½ cup salt
- cold water to cover ingredients by 2 inches
Step One: Cook the broth
Combine total ingredients into a 20 qt. stock pot. Place over high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to hold a medium simmer for three hours. Use a large spoon to remove residue floating on surface. This residue is coagulated protein and will occur at first boil and decrease after you skim it for the first 15 minutes.
Step Two: Strain broth and de-bone chicken
Pour the broth through a large fine strainer. Save the chicken and de-bone while it is still warm. Discard extracted vegetables. Taste and adjust for salt. Refrigerate broth overnight. You can use the chicken for chicken soup or chicken salad.
Step Three: De-fat the broth
The next day, remove all of the solid fat on the surface of the refrigerated broth with a large spoon.
Make the following changes to the above recipe when making chicken stock:
- Use 12 to 15 lb. chicken bones instead of stewing hens*
- Increase the reduction time to 6 hours
The vegetables listed in the recipes for both stock and broth are the essential vegetables. While loading the stock pot, do not hesitate to gather some additional odds and ends from your refrigerator and freezer. Extra pieces of almost any root vegetable can be included such as a spare turnip, a piece of fennel root, a piece of jicama, etc. I save the rinds from Parmesan cheese and other aged hard cheeses and they make a wonderful addition to the stock pot. A small piece of beef knuckle bone is also a pleasant addition. When making the stock recipe, bear in mind the vegetables will give up their flavor in 3 hours of reduction, therefore it is not necessary to start your stock pot with the vegetables at the start. They can be added at any point you desire as long as they remain in the pot for the mandatory 3 hours.
I have found that making a large 20 qt, pot of stock or broth is easier to deal with than making it more often. I freeze this in one and two quart containers and keep a good size, non-reactive bowl in the refrigerator. To keep stocks and broths fresh in the refrigerator, you will need to put it in a sauce pot, bring to a boil, and hold at a full boil for ten minutes every third day. I like to keep the sauce pot covered to prevent further reduction. Use a clean non-reactive bowl when ready to refrigerate again. By following this schedule you can keep stocks and broths fresh for a long time. The only noticeable difference you will find is that the color of the stock or broth will darken slightly after repeated boiling but the flavor will remain intact.
Wonderful clear chicken soups can be made from the broth, and by adding a little water to lighten up the stock a very satisfactory soup can be made from this as well. No matter which you choose to use you can be assured that either is vastly superior to anything you may purchase in a can or cube. I prefer to use stock to de-glaze a sauté pan rather than broth. The stock also makes a great velouté which is one of the mother sauces that most serious cooks use frequently. Velouté is a great addition to a pan sauce, gravies and heavier soups. Its uses in the kitchen are endless and it is quite simple to make and stores very well under refrigeration.
Total ingredients to yield two quarts:
- 5 oz. butter
- 5 oz. all purpose flour
- 2 qt. Chicken stock
Step one: Make a roux
Melt butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Stir in flour and keep stirring with spatula until smooth. Cook gently over low heat for five minutes until barely golden. Do not brown.
Step two: Finish the sauce
Slowly whip in the stock which must be hot. When all the stock has been incorporated bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer. Refrigerate until used.
Altitude Adjustment: At 8,000 feet add 30 minutes to the broth recipe, and one hour to the stock recipe. Prorate accordingly.
Coq au Vin
SERVES 6 This dish is made from a recipe in The Country Cooking of
France by Anne Willan.
3 cups red wine 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns 3 cloves garlic (1 whole, 2 chopped) 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced 1 5–6-lb. chicken, cut into 10 pieces 3 tbsp. olive oil 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley plus 1 tbsp.
chopped leaves 2 bay leaves 2 sprigs thyme 1⁄2 lb. slab bacon, cut into 2″-long slivers 3 tbsp. flour
Credit: André Baranowski
2 cups Chicken Stock (http://saveur.com/food/classic-recipes/chicken-stock-48789.html) 2 shallots, chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 4 tbsp. butter
18 pearl onions, peeled (see Pearls of Wisdom) 1⁄2 lb. button mushrooms, quartered
1. Bring wine, peppercorns, whole garlic, celery, carrots, and yellow onions to a boil in a pot; reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool, pour over chicken in a bowl, and drizzle with 1 tbsp. oil. Cover and marinate overnight.
2. Heat oven to 325°. Tie parsley sprigs, bay leaves, and thyme together; set aside. Remove chicken from marinade; pat dry. Strain marinade; reserve liquid and solids separately. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add bacon; cook until crisp, 6–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a bowl; increase heat to medium-high. Working in 2 batches, brown chicken, 6–8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add reserved solids; cook until soft, 10–12 minutes. Sprinkle in flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in reserved liquid; boil. Simmer for 1 minute. Stir in remaining garlic, stock, shallots, and salt and pepper to taste; nestle chicken and herb bundle in vegetables. Bake, covered, until tender, about 1 1⁄4 hours. Transfer chicken to a plate; cover with foil. Strain sauce; keep warm.
3. While chicken is cooking, heat 1 tbsp. butter and remaining oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add pearl onions; cook until golden, 4–5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until tender, 8–10 minutes. Combine onions with bacon. Heat remaining butter over medium-high heat; cook mushrooms until tender, 4–5 minutes. Arrange chicken on platter; top with sauce, bacon, onions, mushrooms, and remaining parsley.