Franco American Chicken Stew

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4 servings Medium
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Ingredients (15)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped ½ inch dice
  • 2 stalks of celery roughly chopped ½ inch dice
  • 3 carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 10 ounces of fresh mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • ¼ cup cognac
  • ½ a bottle of wine (I used a Spanish Red, a Borsao), any good red works
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • A bouquet garni of 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, 5 parsley stems, 4 cloves of garlic peeled
  • Salt and pepper to season at each level.
  • Cut up chicken parts to serve four, salted and peppered
  • Salt pork, a 4 ‶ x 1″ x 2 ‶ piece , cut into 1″ x ¼″ x ¼″ pieces, lardons

My version of chicken stew is influenced by simple local French Canadian home cooking and is a bit like a Cajun Ettouffe. A roux is created after first sweating then caramelizing vegetables. I think a classic French cookbook version would use a butter flour paste to thicken at the end. At any rate the family really likes my modified version.

Instructions

  1. 1In a large sauté pan simmer the lardons in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. Remove the lardons and pour off the water.
  2. 2Place the lardons back in the sauté pan with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. You want to render the fat from the pork, but you don’t want it to burn. This will take 10 to 15 minutes. They are done when the fat has rendered and the lardons are light brown and crispy.
  3. 3Remove the lardons and if there isn’t enough fat to film the bottom of the sauté pan add more olive oil.
  4. 4Brown the chicken pieces skin side down first. Turn the chicken over and brown on other side. Again not too fast or the chicken will burn or seize.
  5. 5Remove chicken from the pan and put in carrots, celery and onions. Salt the veggies and shake the pan to cover with the oil and rendered fat. Scrape up brown bits. Put the lid on the pan for five minutes and let the veggies soften or sweat.
  6. 6Remove cover and raise heat to close to high allow the veggies to brown ever so slightly. Add tomato paste to a well in the center of the pan, move it around and allow it to caramelize on the bottom of the pan.
  7. 7Sprinkle the veggies with three tablespoons of flour and stir so the flour cooks and turns a peanut butter color. Add more olive oil if there doesn’t appear to be enough fat to form a roux. This takes probably about 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. 8Deglaze with the cognac. Careful it may ignite. Stirring constantly, bring to boiling; the flour and the cognac will become a bubbling paste. Carefully, taste and adjust seasoning.
  9. 9Add the wine, stir, reduce and allow thickening as the wine evaporates. Taste and again, if necessary, adjust seasoning.
  10. 10Add chicken stock then add the chicken parts skin side up so that the skin is not submerged.
  11. 11Submerse the bouquet garni. Turn down to a simmer. Adjust seasoning as desired.
  12. 12With the lid slightly ajar simmer for a half hour, stirring once in a while.
  13. 13At the half hour point melt the 2 tables spoons of butter over high heat until nutty colored and sauté the mushrooms until they have a slightly caramel color.
  14. 14Sprinkle the mushrooms into stew. Cook at the simmer for ½ hour longer, top with the lardons and serve with bread and potatoes.
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