I bought some leeks specifically for this dish and then totally spaced and forgot to use them. I blame this on the fact that the day before I tripped over my own foot while taking out the garbage and landed with the full weight of my body on my left pinky finger, rendering that hand pretty much useless. It goes without saying, I am the clumsiest person in the universe, that is, besides my dad (sorry dad).
The good thing about having a family is that, no matter what happens (and of course, I’m blessed if all I have to complain about is a sore hand) babies still need to be held, diapers still must be changed, there are still sets of little teeth to be brushed and everyone’s still gotta eat. Being a mama forces you to WO-man up. So, cheers to you mamas. You are the glue. In keeping with my not-a-New-Year’s-resolution to make weekdays easier by doing more food prep on the weekend, I made this stew, minus the leeks, one-handed. If you're looking for something easy to make I think this fits the bill. It's kid-friendly, reheats well and warms you up on these brisk days we have as we transition to spring.
I usually top this dish with buttermilk biscuit batter before I put it in the oven, but this time I left it as is, since my eaters usually prefer rice or brown bread anyway.
Chicken Stew (AKA “Chicken and Dumplings without the Dumplings”)
1 ½ lb chicken thighs, cut into 1” pieces
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of dry sherry
3 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup frozen peas
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the chicken with its juices to a bowl.
Add the onions, carrots and celery to the dutch oven and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes more.
Turn the heat up and add the dry sherry until almost all of the liquid has dissolved.
Add the chicken stock, thyme and bay leaf and turn the heat down to a simmer.
Return the chicken with its juices back to the pan.
Place milk and flour in a measuring cup with a spout and whisk until flour is completely dissolved and no lumps remain. Add milk mixture to the pot and bring to a simmer.
Place dutch oven into the oven uncovered for about 40 minutes. Stirring once half-way into the cooking time.
Set dutch oven back on the stove top over low heat, add frozen peas and cook 3 to 5 minutes more, until peas are warmed through.
Serve with rice, mashed potatoes or bread (or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! See below).