24 January 2009

When I was a Kid......We had Chicken Stew & Fudge

Chicken Stew
When the temperature drops our thoughts turn to delicious and vibrant tasting foods. We dream of sundrenched gardens and bountiful fresh fruits and veggies. In the middle of a Canadian winter these really are just a memory so comforting and reminiscent of care free childhood. When I was a kid my mom served chicken stew to sooth our chilled bones. It doesn't matter that her version of my childhood favourite came from a can. It was actually very tasty and if I can find this particular brand I still enjoy a hearty helping of comforting stew during the long cold wintry nights. It reminds me of chicken pot pie without the "pie".

Since the canned version is hard to find I had to come up with my own version of this childhood favourite. No wonder this take on the get- well classic chicken soup would be a favourite of mine. It has plenty of hearty pieces of chicken, a rich homemade broth with lots of bright veggies. You can add a touch of heat with hot sauce at the end to eradicate any lasting chills. Make it ahead of time and just reheat it. Curl up with a warm blanket and a good book and enjoy!!!It's flavours may even improve the next day. I served it with cornbread laced with roasted red peppers and cheese.

My version is a combination of recipes inspired by Ina Garten and David Lieberman. I make this simple and quick homemade chicken stock and add layers of flavour from there.

Another comforting food I remember as a child was homemade fudge. Mom would make maple fudge with toasted walnuts and then hide it from us "whippersnappers" or it would be inhaled and a past memory in a matter of minutes. Recently I was the lucky winner of some fudge from Jeanne over at Cooksister . Jeanne and I share a passion for food as well as a "hunger" to make the world a better place. Her roots and her heart are in South Africa but she lives in England where she champions many causes to raise awareness for those who are less fortunate. On a recent trip to Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, she brought home some Black Butter Fudge from La Mare Vineyards which I was lucky enough to win from her site.

Jersey Black butter is made with apples, cider, liquorice and spices and boiled and stirred for many hours over an open flame to create a rich, thick, black and sticky consistency. It is normally eaten on bread or toast but the winery incorporated it into their fudge to create a unique flavour that just screams Jersey.!! Thank you very much Jeanne for allowing me to be able to try this wonderful treat. It was a treat worth waiting for!!!!!! I still have a few pieces left because I wanted to savor the flavour as long as possible. So..in the meantime I will comfort myself with my version of chicken stew.

**Val's Chicken Stew**


4 small onions, quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
6 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin removed
Handful thyme sprigs
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns

Chicken Stew

2 chicken bouillon cubes
A pinch of saffron threads
12 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions, approximately 2 onions
3/4 cup flour
2 cups medium-diced carrots , approximately 4 carrots
1-1/2 lbs red bliss potatoes, washed and quartered
2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
Hot pepper sauce to taste (optional)

For stock : In a large pot, combine onions, garlic, carrots, chicken and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Add about 6 cups cold water to cover. Bring to boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Skim and discard any scum that may come to the top. Simmer until the meat of the chicken falls off the bone with almost no pressure from a fork, about 1 to 1- 1/2 hours. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Use 2 forks to separate the meat from the bone. Discard bones. You will have about 4 - 6 cups of chicken. Strain liquid through a sieve. Discard vegetables.

For Stew: In a small bowl combine 1 cup of water with saffron threads and 2 bouillon cubes. Infuse for approximately 10 minutes. In a large saucepan, bring to boil 4 cups of the prepared chicken stock. Add potatoes and cook approximately 5 minutes. Add medium diced carrots and 1 cup of saffron infused water and cook another 10 minutes. Cook until carrots and potatoes are tender but still firm. Add frozen peas and simmer for approximately 5 minutes.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the sliced onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken/saffron/vegetable mixture to pot. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thickened. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, and parsley. Mix well. Heat everything through. Remove from heat and add hot sauce if desired.

Serves 4 - 6

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. Your stew looks comforting!

    The fudge really sounds interesting!

  2. My mom used to make a pretty good Chicken stew too. These days she doesnt make it so much though and this reminds me of hers!!

  3. Yummy! This stew looks good! I love fudge!



  4. When we were kids, we had comforting lamb stew...& sadly no fudge! Your stew looks delicious, & the fudge yummy too. Jeanne's got a lovely blog; one of my fave stops!

  5. It's the comfort stews that get us through! I love it!
    And fudge...sounds like it was the perfect meal.

    Your stew looks great.

  6. Perfect cold weather dish. I've never made a chicken stew before but am seriously bookmarking htis recipe--will likely make it this week so I will let you know how it goes.
    Fudge is one of my favorites. Do you know that the first time I ever made it without a candy thermometer it turned out great and yet the two or three other times I've tried it, I haven't managed to get it to the right temp? Guess I was just lucky the first time.

  7. We never had either of these growing up. That could be why they're so fascinating to me!

  8. Your stew looks so comforting on this cold, cold day. I can barely handle our Midwestern winters, and can't even begin to imagine what Canadian winters would be like. Stay warm!

  9. Yaaaaay! I'm so glad the fudge got there in one piece. It really is soooo creamy and delicious, isn't it? The chicken stew sounds yummy too - perfect comfort food.

  10. That beurre noir fudge sounds really interesting. It reminded me of that song Maple Fudge by the Guess Who, for some reason, although I'm sure they taste nothing alike. :P

    Anyway, chicken stew is the type of thing I never stop craving. Float a biscuit in mine. :)

  11. Looks like the perfect filling for a chicken pot pie...but without the calories of the pastry.

  12. I haven't had chicken stew in ages. I can't even imagine why. It does look warming and healthy.

  13. Nothing beats a comforting chicken stew Val...this is better than childhood! Delicious!

  14. Hi Val, I remember eating that stew out of a can when I was a kid. Not sure if I enjoyed it or not but it brought back memories! Your homemade version sounds much better.


  15. I love your post title. It made me think of how our elders tell the children, "when I was a kid we had to walk 6 miles to school in the snow..." I love the randomness of chicken stew and fudge!

    I thought it was funny how you said that your stew reminds you of chicken pot pie without the crust. I went to college in Pennsylvania Dutch country and in that area, chicken pot pie, is pretty much the stew you describe above. It's a hearty chicken stew with lots of big noodes in it and no crust.

  16. just glancing at your title, i read "chicken fudge"...
    chicken stew and then fudge sounds much more appetizing. :)

  17. Your recipe sounds great. I never had either chicken stew or fudge before.

  18. Looks absolutely delicious and so comforting!

  19. What a delicious stew!

  20. A nice biscuit or dumpling would complete me with this stew...great Canadian winter fare.

  21. My Gosh!! Val your chicken look absolutely tasty and nice, nice recipe!!!I love fudge too! xxxGloria

  22. That fudge sounds like WOW flavor!
    Your chicken stew makes me think that would be just the thing with or without the snow in the forecast. Chicken pot pie, oh I have lovely memories of those. Always loved the top crust but never wanted the bottom crust.

  23. The epitome of comfort food :)

  24. Chicken stew is a staple here at our place!

  25. I love chicken stew - always tender and doesn't take forever like beef stew!
    As to the fudge..... Please?


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