much to my dismay summer is slowly but surely giving way to fall and the early evening air has a bit of a nip to it as i prepare our dinners. the slowly changing light and fresh air remind me of my childhood home and the welcoming scent of stew i used to love so much when my sister and i got home from school tired and hungry. i remember it so well-that warm and cozy feeling of knowing a delicious meal was simmering away as we did (or did we?) our homework and washed up for dinner. my mom made chicken stew often, probably because it pleased us all, and possibly because it was simple and easy for her to prepare (sometimes she made it so often we would actually start to complain). my favorite part was the slightly thickened delicious juice we soaked up with chunks of bread, and the softened mushy peas i gathered up on the side of my plate to enjoy in one big bite at the very end. my mom adds a touch of saffron to her stews which takes the flavor over the top! the saffron is optional, but highly recommended. the vegetables are interchangeable and depend on what you have or like. the stew itself makes saying goodbye to summer just a tiny bit easier.
chicken stew for 4:
- about 6-8 pieces organic skinless chicken
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed and rough chopped (optional)
- 2-3 organic carrots, peeled, sliced in halves, then quarters
- 2-3 small yellow potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut in about the same size as potatoes
- 1-2 roma tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 to 1 cup green beans, cleaned, cut in half (or peas, or mushrooms, or zucchini)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 finely ground saffron, dissolved in a few drops of warm water (if using strands seep them in warm water for at least 30 minutes)
- 2-3 tbs olive or avocado oil
- 2-3 bay leaves
- heat the oil in a heavy (deep) skillet or dutch oven, add onions and fry until softened, add garlic, then chicken, sea salt, cracked pepper, and turmeric. brown chicken pieces on both sides. add 1/2 to 3/4 cup water, bay leaves, potatoes, and carrots. bring to a boil, reduce heat to low simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes.
- add red bell peppers and tomatoes, scatter green beans over the top (juices should be thickening by now) taste and adjust for salt & pepper. simmer another 15 minutes.
- add saffron evenly over the top, simmer another 10-15 minutes. serve with fresh crusty bread and a green salad.