In our family, there are many recipes that bring to mind comfort and home. One of my favorite though? Cousin Tim's Chicken Stew. I'll never forget when I first had it. Everyone had been saying for years how great of a cook my cousin was and he even had a small catering company. For some reason, I had never gone to his annual Christmas Eve Chicken Stew. Then one year I did. That first buttery creamy taste of stew MELTED in my mouth and I fell in love with chicken all over again.
I never could come close to mimicking his recipe though. I didn't know the secret. When our wedding came around I could think of no better dish to serve for an outdoor Halloween/Fall wedding than Chicken Stew and Eagle's Chili. So I approached Tim about the price to make a big pot. This sweet darling of a man, made GALLONS (I'm not even sure how many but I'm pretty sure he used at least 20 chickens that's how much there was!) for my wedding as a wedding gift to me. It was fabulous and my guests RAVED about it for MONTHS. So I finally broked down and asked him (begged him and groveled along the ground, see, I'm not above these things) for the recipe. It is fabulous. We do it a tad different but the KEY is the same. So I will tell you how I do it. Play around with it but make sure you follow the first part exactly because that is the key.
Cousin Tim's Chicken Stew
1 whole roasting chicken
1 large onion
1 whole garlic clove
2-3 large carrots
2 celery stalks
salt and pepper
Half and Half
1 stick of butter
Place all of your ingredients (except Half and Half and Butter) in a crockpot. Make sure the bird is washed and dried inside and out and well seasonged with salte and pepper. Just cut your cleaned vegetables in half or quartered in the cavity of the bird. Cover with water. Cook on low for 8-10 hours until bird is falling apart. Place a large collander in a large bowl and pour contents through strainer. Place the broth you collected in the bowl BACK into the crock pot. Throw butter into broth and melt. When melted, add cream until broth turns a golden cream color. SAlt and pepper liberally.
Debone meat and rough chop or shred chicken. The key here is to DISCARD the vegetables. The flavor is infused into the broth and chicken. Add the chicken back into the broth/cream mixture and THAT's IT. Serve with cornbread. You can play with the vegetable flavors that you want as well as how creamy you want your stew but this is the best simple stew you have ever had.
I took pictures but as you can imagine, with my dinky camera, they didn't come out well. I will post them anyway soon. Promise.