Winter Chicken Stew (And a Special Valentine Treat)
Joy Johnson, Master Gardener
The ice and snow have buried your garden under a cold blanket. Picking fresh veggies and herbs from your own plot is a distant memory and a future hope! You can still make tasty nutritious meals for your family using your garden produce, just open your freezer.
Here is a recipe for a delicious chicken stew that will make great use of your frozen vegetables and herbs. Follow that up with this special sweet Valentine’s treat.
Last October I dug up all the carrots and parsnips before the first hard frost. I washed, peeled, sliced, blanched, and froze containers of them. They’ve been sleeping in my freezer and now it’s time to wake them up with herbs, (also frozen or dried from my garden) in this flavorful, healthy chicken stew. I love using a crock pot for this recipe. It must be set on the low setting for the chicken to absorb the flavors and not taste dry.
Country Style Chicken Stew
Medium Crock Pot
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 oz. portobello mushrooms, cubed (or one small can of mushroom stems and pieces)
14 oz. fat-free chicken broth
¼ cup dry white wine
3 golden potatoes, cubed into bite size pieces
15 oz can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen sliced carrots (or 4 fresh ones)
1 cup frozen sliced parsnips (or 2 fresh ones)
8 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp of each of these dried spices: thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, oregano (if using frozen, use about a pinch of each)
1 bay leaf
¼ cup dried parsley (you can also use frozen, just chop it finely)
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and mushrooms, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
Combine the chicken mixture with everything else listed in a medium sized crock pot. Cover and cook on LOW until the chicken is cooked through, the potatoes are tender, and the flavors are blended, 6 to 8 hours.
Serve the chicken stew with these colorful sweet scones
Just for My Valentine Sweetheart Scones
2 ½ cups flour (can use ½ whole wheat)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
¾ tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter
½ cup milk
¾ cup dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries (a little grated orange rind is great with the cranberries)
Top with 2 tsp milk and tsp sugar before baking.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl or food processor combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
With a pastry blender or food processor cut in butter until mixture represents coarse crumbs.
Mix eggs with fork in a separate bowl and then add ½ cup of milk and blend into the flour mixture.
Stir in cranberries or your choice of berries.
Form dough into a ball and gently knead on a lightly floured board five times.
Pack dough in to ¾ in thickness and use a butter knife or cookie cutter to cut 8-10 heart shapes.
Brush each heart with milk and sprinkle with sugar
Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Serve with Raspberry preserves.
Photo credits: Joy Johnson (all)