Chicken Scratch

These days, doing things from scratch seems to take too long. Busy schedules mean less time, and the same goes for time spent in the kitchen. We need to do things faster. We want shortcuts—instant pudding mix, canned soup, pre-shredded cheeses, oh and don’t even get me started on grocery-store rotisserie chickens! I would be lost (and pretty hungry) without them. However, on some weekends I like to slow things down and take a little more time to cook, from scratch. I’m not talking churning my own butter here, but marinating, braising and all of those flavor-maximizing preparations.

chicken stew - 04Some recent cold weather left me longing for a warm and hearty meal. I decided stew would fit the bill, but I didn’t want to do beef. With chicken breasts already in my refrigerator, I envisioned a country-style chicken soup with hearty veggies . . . and dinner was born—Cottage Chicken Stew. (Well, I live in a cottage, so it just seemed appropriate!) My version is going to be slightly heartier than a regular soup with lots of fresh herbs, carrots, pearl onions, celery, lima beans, corn and red potatoes. I also decided to make this one slightly creamy for the sake of texture.

Don’t get me wrong, this dish isn’t difficult, but we’re going to take the time to braise the chicken and simmer to let our flavors meld together. Here’s what went into our pot:


5 from 1 reviews
Cottage Chicken Stew
Dinner is hearty and wholesome with this country-style chicken stew, bursting with fresh cooked chicken, and an array of vegetables. Perfect on a cold weekend night!
Serves: Large pot of stew (enough for leftovers)
Prep time: 
Total time: 
What to get:
For Cooking the Chicken:
  • 2 large bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup sweet white onion, chopped
  • 3T butter (unsalted)
  • ¼ cup olive oil (extra virgin)
  • dash dried thyme leaves
  • dash sea salt
  • dash ground black pepper
  • dash poultry seasoning
  • dash paprika
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • *1/2 cup chicken stock (from 32-oz carton listed below)
For Making the Soup:
  • 1 32-oz carton chicken stock
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 7 baby red potatoes, halved (if larger red potatoes, quarter them)
  • 1.5 cups thickly sliced carrot (chunks about ½ inch wide)
  • 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
  • 6 small pearl onions, quartered
  • 10-oz frozen baby lima beans (I used one half of a frozen bag)
  • 2 garlic cloves, mince
  • 1 (8.5-oz) can of cream-style corn
  • 1 can white shoe peg corn, drained
  • 1 cup Half-and-Half (or cream)
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 2 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup flour (I use quick absorbing Wondra brand flour for sauces)
  • *14.5 oz can chicken broth, low sodium (optional depending how long you simmer soup)
  • ½ tsp sea salt (more to taste)
  • ground black pepper, to taste
What to do:
Prepare the Chicken Breasts:
  1. Rinse chicken breasts, pat dry & lightly season evenly on both sides with pinches of thyme, sea salt, pepper, paprika & poultry seasoning.
  2. In pre-heated, enameled cast iron pot, add ¼ cup olive oil (EVOO) and melt 3T of butter.
  3. Once butter melts add the ¼ cup chopped white onion & chopped garlic, sauté for ~5 mins on medium-low, stirring occasionally as onion becomes translucent.
  4. Increase heat to medium & add chicken breasts (fatter breast-side down) and sear for ~3 mins without moving chicken.
  5. Flip over and sear on bottom side (with bones/rib) for another few mins on medium heat, then add the ¼ cup wine & scrape off any browned bits on pot bottom.
  6. Continue to cook on medium-low until wine begins to reduce.
  7. Reduce heat to low and add the ½ cup stock and the potatoes, carrot chunks and celery (we will start to steam these as chicken finishes).
  8. Partially cover pot with lid continuing to cook until chicken breasts are cooked through with no pink in center (my chicken breasts were very large cuts, so took ~20 more mins to cook on low, covered).
  9. Remove cooked breasts from pot (continue cooking vegetables already in the pot with lid partially covered), and allow chicken to cool before removing meat and cutting into chunks, set aside.
Prepare the Soup:
  1. To the pot with cooking vegetables, add pinch salt, pepper, ¼ tsp dried thyme, minced garlic, frozen lima beans, and additional ¼ cup white wine, increasing heat to medium-low, stir & continue to cook uncovered for ~10 more mins (test potato halves with fork to see if slightly tender).
  2. Add butter, stir & once melted and heated slowly sprinkle flour over top of pot ingredients (making a roux) to thicken, stirring the flour in gradually (you may add more flour if there is a lot of accumulated liquid).
  3. To thickened base slowly stir in 2 cups of the chicken stock (about ½ cup at a time) stirring constantly as it incorporates, heat at medium-low.
  4. To pot add can of cream corn, shoe peg corn, cooked chicken chunks, quartered pearl onions & fresh parsley.
  5. Let soup simmer (~20 min) on stove adding some of the remaining stock periodically if soup requires more fluid.
  6. Add additional sea salt and black pepper to taste (I added salt later as soup simmered), then bring heat down to low & let soup drop in temperature to warm, then stir in 1 cup half-and-half or cream.
  7. Continue to simmer until have desired fluid level & ingredients are tender (test vegetables with fork).
  8. Depending on how long you let soup simmer, if fluid levels evaporate too much, add more stock to some chicken broth gradually.
The seasoning & fluid amounts may vary. I let my soup cook about an 1.5 hours slowly, as a result I needed to add some chicken broth. If you gradually add the stock while simmering, you can control the thickness more easily. If you find you’ve added too much fluid for your liking let soup simmer longer uncovered or add another can of creamed corn (I did not add a second can however). Leftovers store well in the refrigerator or frozen (If freezing make sure stew ingredients are totally covered with broth/fluid, add more as necessary to freeze). Season the salt & pepper to your liking, I added more salt towards the end after testing.

I served hot bowls of this along with my homemade cheddar chive buttermilk biscuits, and the meal was complete! This recipe is great if you’re looking for an alternative to beef stews, or are just looking for something wholesome for dinner.

It sure wasn’t fancy, but it sure was good—hope you enjoy!

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Thank you for visiting the dinnervine! In the words of Julia Child, "People who love to eat, are always the best people," and I couldn't agree more. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did making them. Here's to creating new recipes and memories with friends & family, cheers! 

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