Same chicken, 2 nights 2 ways

One dish I absolutely love that my mother-in-law makes is her chicken stew.  She makes it full of large pieces of chicken, potatoes, carrots and celery.  And she makes dumplings too.  I decided the other day I’d make a chicken stew but wasn’t in the mood to make the dumplings so I opted for egg noodles instead.  I didn’t have my MIL’s recipe but she’d explained it a few years back so I thought I could manage it.  I had boneless chicken breasts and thighs which I poached in the liquid.  It’s a perfect dish to make in the slow cooker and great to eat on a cold night.  The boys all ate it with gusto, although my middle son says he only likes raw carrots and wasn’t going to eat it until he noticed I gave him a bowl with no carrots in it. 

There was quite a bit left over.  Since I was doing a lot for a charity event that we were expecting around 500 people to attend, I was thinking something easy.  So, I took the leftovers and cut everything into bite-sized pieces, thickened the liquid with corn starch, added peas and put it into a puff pastry crust.  Voila! Chicken pot pie!  I had it in the oven cooking when I left with my mother babysitting.  When I returned I was told the boys liked it— except my middle son complained about the carrots!

Chicken Stew

½ small onion, diced

2-4 pounds chicken pieces

1 leek, well rinsed and cut into pieces

2 celery stalks, chopped

4 carrots

5-7 small potatoes

3-4 parsnips

1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme

2-3 cups chicken stock

Salt (go lightly on salt at first) and pepper to taste

I sautéed the onion in olive oil then added the chicken and leeks with stock. Add carrots, potatoes and parsnips which are cut into 1-2 inch pieces along with rest of ingredients.  Bring to boil then lower to simmer for 45 minutes.  Adjust seasoning.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken stew leftovers

2 puff pastry sheets

½ cup frozen peas

Roll out sheet of puff pastry on well-floured surface.  Line pie plate with pastry, add smaller chopped pieces of stew reserving liquid. Mix well 2 tsp corn starch with 4 tsp water.  Put reserved liquid in sauce pan, bring to boil, add cornstarch mixture and stir well. Lower to simmer for a few minutes to thicken.  Add thickened sauce to pie.  Add frozen peas.  Moisten edges of pastry and top with other rolled puff pastry sheet.  Press edges together and trim excess.  Bake for 30-40 minutes in preheated 400°F oven.


Photos taken with iphone.  My Canon EOS 20D has not been working lately.

Trick or Treating a week late–slow cooker meal time!

The past couple of weeks have been so crazy with the freak snowstorm that knocked out power to 100% of our town, kids home from school for a week, Halloween postponed twice in town (yes, they actually postponed town wide Trick or Treating first to the Saturday following then Monday, a week after the actual holiday), school celebrations postponed several times then canceled, and now just trying to get back into a routine after it all.   I have been unsuccessful in getting most of my work done.  One reason is because I couldn’t get online for a week.  But I’m back and must get it done!!

On the day we went to the week-delayed Trick or Treat Street at our elementary school I had made a Moroccan Chicken with Prunes in the slow cooker.  It was the first time I’d used the recipe and will definitely make it again.  I was curious to see how the boys would react to it, but they’ve all had prunes/dried plums before and actually used to eat them because I called them “plum fruit snacks”.  The two youngest weren’t interested in eating the fruit in the dish but amazingly didn’t complain about any of it. So happy to give them something different that doesn’t have whines accompanying it.  AND my eldest actually loved it so much he raided his brothers’ dishes when they’d had enough.  He sought out prunes and all. 

Moroccan Chicken with Prunes adapted from recipe by Lora Brody
1 ½  pounds chicken pieces (I used breasts but next time think I’ll just use thighs)
2 tsp olive oil
½ cup prunes
1 large onion diced
1 tsp cumin seed
¾ cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic — minced
2 inch piece of fresh ginger — peeled & grated
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste

I sautéed the onion and then garlic until they were done (not browned).  Added the ginger and cumin seeds for a minute then other spices, for another minute, stirring often.  I then added the chicken broth and brought it to a quick boil then tossed it all into the crock pot.  I added the chicken breasts and prunes.  Set it for 4 ½ hours on low.  I checked seasoning before serving over brown rice.  Original recipe calls for couscous but we’d had so much pasta surrounding that meal that I went with the rice.   Adding cilantro or mint would definitely add a great dimension to the meal.  Next time I may also add chickpeas and a vegetable. 

Two days after that was the official Trick or Treating and I made lasagna for that! Once they were done we went out to gather all the candy and junk associated with Halloween.  It was fun and I’m glad they actually got to do it.  I remember it being my favorite holiday when I was little.

Now back to reality and November.  Halloween will be finally over after today (10 days later) and the zombie holiday (it would not die) can make way for my favorite holiday as an adult: Thanksgiving!


This gallery contains 8 photos.

Braised Short Ribs I’ll follow up with full recipe.  Served it over wide egg noodles. You’ll need beef short ribs, parsnips, purple top turnips, carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, thyme, beef/veal stock or demi glace, salt and pepper, red wine. 8 … Continue reading