A Chicken Stew Of Sorts

Food & Wine has always been one of my favorite food magazines, but the March issue completely wowed me. I immediately dog-eared 12 recipes just on my first flip-through. The theme of this issue is healthy eating without sacrificing flavor. I'm always more concerned with flavor and satisfying my cravings than with how healthy something is (I know... I need to work on this). I figured I'd see all sorts of dishes that wouldn't call out to me based on their "healthy factor," but I was wrong. From the Dijon-roasted cauliflower to the Za'atar-rubbed pork tenderloin, I could tell these were definitely flavor-packed recipes that could tempt even me into eating more healthfully.

The first flavor-filled, healthy recipe I attempted was a spin on Jamie Oliver's Simplest Chicken-and-Leek Stew. I scanned the ingredient list. I had chicken, chicken stock, mustard, and thyme. And while I didn't have leeks, mushrooms, and sour cream, I had some red onion, carrots, and creme fraiche. I knew I could make the stew work with the ingredients I had on hand.

While Jamie suggests serving the stew over white rice, I had just bought the most adorable Wee Bee Pee Wee potatoes (yes, that's seriously what they're called) at Whole Foods and wanted to have those with the stew instead. I wasn't sure if the potatoes would have enough time to boil and cook through in the chicken stock, so I roasted them while I prepared the stew and then put them in the bottom of my bowl and poured the stew over them. As I cut into the potatoes, they would soak up some of the broth and take on a tangy flavor from the mustard. I'm pretty sure potatoes were the better way to go.

Chicken Stew With Roasted Potatoes (adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe in Food & Wine, March 2011)

Roasted Potatoes


1 lb bag Wee Bee Pee Wee (or other small) potatoes, washed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread potatoes on a sheet pan lined with foil, and drizzle them with olive oil. Roll the potatoes around in the oil so they all get coated. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast the potatoes for 25 minutes, or until they can easily be pierced all the way through with a fork. Turn off the oven, and leave them in there until the stew is ready.

Chicken Stew


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Half of a red onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast filets, cut in 2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
Flour, for dusting
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or use low-sodium broth if you prefer)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and carrots until softened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Scrape them into a medium bowl.

Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper, and coat it lightly with flour. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, and saute the chicken over medium heat until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Add the chicken stock and thyme, and simmer for 1 minute.

Transfer the chicken to the bowl with the onion and carrots.

Simmer the stock for another 2 minutes, or until reduced by half, and then return the chicken and vegetables to the skillet and cook for 1 minute.

Mix the creme fraiche and mustard together in a small bowl, and stir the mixture into the stew. Remove the skillet from the heat, and season the stew with salt and pepper.

Place some roasted potatoes in the bottom of a soup bowl.

Ladle some of the chicken stew over the potatoes, and serve.

You could also eat this like Jeff did, on a plate, with mostly chicken, vegetables, and potatoes, and using the broth more like a sauce.

The stew was both light and filling, and it was definitely full of flavor from the onions, thyme, and Dijon mustard.

What's the most interesting thing you've made with random ingredients that you had on hand?