There’s nothing like a hurricane to make you want to cook up something warm and cozy for dinner! That and the fact that I wanted to try out my new rice cooker.
As Earl passed by I decided to create a “chicken stew” over rice. I had chicken breasts in the fridge along with an onion and some nice mushrooms that I have been eating all week in my salads. Some frozen corn and peas would add a nice “veggie factor” and make room in the freezer for this year’s garden bounty. Add in some items from the cabinet like rice, flour, spices and chicken stock and we’ve got an old-fashioned cabinet stew!
First order of business: the rice cooker. There was a discrepancy between the rice cooker directions and the rice package directions in terms of the rice to water ratio. I decided to defer to the package. 2:1 water to rice. I am glad I did and might even go with a tiny bit more liquid next time. ( I used stock instead of plain water to boost the flavor.)
Look at it in action!
By the way this was given to me for my wedding anniversary! Funny how appliances become more exciting than jewelry after more than a few years of marriage.
Back to the stew. I chopped the chicken into large chunks and sprinkled a healthy dose of my favorite all-purpose seasoning; Emeril’s Essence. Then in my heavy cast iron pot I browned the chicken in 1 tablespoon of oil. Just as that was developing some color I added one med onion chopped. A few minutes later the sliced mushrooms. I let everything saute together for a few minutes. However, my pan was a bit small…
“they won’t brown properly if the pan is crowded!”
I should have broken out the big daddy pot but I added 4 Tablespoons of butter instead and everything was instantly made better! This gave richness and set me up for a roux. I added 4 tablespoons of flour – let it all cook a minute and slowly stirred in a cup of milk to create a thick stew. I could have stopped there but I added in 2 cups of chicken stock to thin it to the right consistency and now the dish would serve 10 people heartily! I know portioned and frozen leftovers will make great heat and eat lunches!
I added most of a bag of frozen corn, some rosemary and some rubbed sage; and of course salt and pepper. I let the whole thing simmer for 10-20 minutes more. Here what it looked like before frozen peas!
Throw in the frozen peas and a couple healthy shakes of Frank’s hot sauce to give it a little bit of “brightness” and serve in wide bowls over the rice!
Although delicious, here is what I might do differently next time:
- I might chop the chicken smaller and/or simmer a little longer as it wasn’t as tender as it could have been – also chicken thighs would be terrific in this dish!
- I think I will add diced carrots to really give it that “school lunch effect” next time (see picture above) but in all seriousness any veggies would be great!
- I would puree some of the corn or add a can of creamed corn for more of a “corn chowder” effect.
- Also if I didn’t feel like creating the roux and essentially my own white sauce; I think a can of “cream of anything except tomato soup” would do the trick nicely!
Have a great storm and try an “earl stew” of your own!
Julia Child photo courtesy of pbs.org