This makes me sounds very responsible and organized, no? Of course, in reality I’m an organizational disaster. A solid 25% of the time, I forget to meal plan. I’ve even programmed a reminder into my phone, to play annoying muzak at me at 8 pm on Saturday night with a note: “Meal plan! Make a shopping list!” I still don’t do it that quarter of the time.
And a solid 50% of the time that I do meal plan, I forget my shopping list at home, leaving me frantically pulling random crap off the shelves at the store, trying to mentally assemble meals for the week. When this happens, I go home and promptly spend the next hour reconciling my meal plan with the mismatched assortment of food that came home with me, figuring out how to turn a turnip, a radish and a clove of garlic into a pasta sauce.
Sometimes – sometimes – I get it all right. I meal plan Saturday night. I remember my list Sunday morning. I find everything I need, and I go home feeling like a Real Grown Up.
This is a trap. Because then I coast on feeling like a Real Grown Up through the afternoon… until 4 o’clock, when I realize that the dinner I had planned for Sunday evening, and for which I have thawed a quartered roasting chicken, required several hours of preparation. Like, 24 hours of preparation. That thawed chicken? Yeah, I was supposed to marinate that yesterday. And then cut it up this morning, so that I could assemble it into a stew that needs to simmer for at least two hours. Meaning, no later than an hour before I dragged my behind into the kitchen to check my list and find out what I was supposed to be making, anyway.
So. I made something up. And you know what? It was good. Really good. Way better than the stew I’d planned. I’m officially adding it to our recipe repertoire. I like it because it has really rich, complementary flavors. Husband likes it because it’s a chicken stew that tastes a lot like a beef stew, and he likes beef stew. Kids like it because it’s yummy and that’s good enough for them.
I share now. Measurements are approximate because I made it up as I went along and estimated in order to write down what I’d done that made such magic.
I call it:
Super Awesome Hearty Chicken Stew
(This fed 4 in my house, with a little left over)
1 roasting chicken, quartered
3 stalks celery
3 large carrots
1 med yellow onion
4 tbsp. butter
1 c. peas (frozen or fresh)
3 medium potatoes
red wine (~1.5 – 2 cups)
chicken stock (~ 1.5 – 2 cups)
Preheat oven to 350.
Arrange chicken pieces in a large flame-proof skillet (I used my iron skillet). Cover generously with red wine. Bake for ~1 hour, or until done.
Remove skillet from oven and allow chicken to cool slightly. Transfer chicken pieces to a plate (leave drippings in skillet). Slice meat from roughly half of the chicken – I cut from both thighs and one of the breasts. Slice meat into bite-sized pieces and return to skillet.
Dice celery, carrots and onion. Melt butter in small pan, add veggies, and saute until soft. Transfer veggies/butter to skillet with chicken meat and drippings and turn on heat under the skillet. Dice potatoes – remember the smaller you cut them, the faster they’ll cook. Add peas and potatoes to skillet. Pour in enough chicken stock to just cover chicken/veggies, add ~1/3 c. flour, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer until potatoes are soft, ~20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy! Let me know if you like it.