Dinner on a Cold Night.

Nights like this, all I want to do is wrap myself up in a wild assortment of blankets and quilts like some kind of crazed sushi roll and breathe in the steam off of a mug or bowl of something  hot.  Since I’m not much for tea and wanted to inhale the aroma of something more substantial than coffee, I decided to pull out the lovely French oven I received for my birthday and put it to work.

chicken-stewSaveur‘s recipe for chicken stew is both ridiculously easy to make and ridiculously delicious.  Of course, the use of a French oven is not required, but a sturdy pot most certainly is.  Also, I was missing a few vital ingredients but rather than venture out into the great snowy yonder, I instead made do with what I had on hand, replacing tarragon vinegar with white wine vinegar and the fines herbes with lemon thyme, parsley and rosemary.  I can’t say whether my slight alterations made the stew any better or worse, but I can say with entire certainty that mine made it fantastic.  The fragrance wafting out of my bowl was positively dreamy, so you can imagine what I thought of the flavors.  My verdict:  absolutely terrific with a baguette on a frosty night.

Chicken Stew, from Saveur
Makes six to eight portions.

4 tablespoon butter
4 pounds skinless chicken thighs
4 ribs celery, sliced
4 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and sliced
1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
1 teaspoon fines herbes, a blend of parsley, chervil, tarragon and chives
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Melt butter in a large cast-iron pot or heavy-bottomed casserole over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pot, add chicken and cook until well browned, 6–8 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a large plate and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 4 cups water to a boil in a small pot over high heat. Reduce heat to low to keep water hot.
  3. Add celery, carrots, onions, vinegar, fines herbes, and bay leaf to pot with butter and rendered chicken fat, scraping any browned bits stuck to bottom of pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
  4. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot, add enough hot water to just cover chicken (about 3 cups), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken is tender, about 1 hour. Discard bay leaf.