I was sick these past few days. It started with “why do all my bones feel like water” and a fever. Then it was all about congestion, violent sneezing, and coughing. Hacking up a lung, to be exact. And finally it has settled into my sinuses, depriving me of a sense of taste and smell, and also my ability to take any kind of meaningful deep breath. For a few days I even napped. NAPPED. I hate napping, and if I do it, you know that I really don’t feel well. I am drinking loads of tea, both iced and hot. I have hit this thing with pharmaceuticals (Buckley’s Complete), naturopathic remedies (wet sock treatment) and essential oils (tea tree oil behind the ear). It is just not budging!
So, given all of that, you can imagine that I left my husband to his own devices for supper for a few days in a row. He’d pretty much cleaned out all the leftovers in the fridge and was starting to have cereal, so I figured I should try to actually cook something. I took mental inventory of what was in the house, and thought I could likely come up with a decent chicken stew. Hoping that the chicken stew would end up being a cure all for me, I gathered up my ingredients.
First: put a whole stewing chicken in a stock pot (my chicken was frozen solid). Add in a quartered onion, a couple stalks of celery cut into pieces, a large carrot cut into chunks, a bay leaf, 2 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. thyme, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Cover this all with water. Head back to couch and let simmer for 3 hours, or until the chicken is fully cooked and falling apart. (Apparently the house smells great at this point, but today I have no idea. So sad.)
Next: remove pot from heat. Get out a second large pot, or a bowl, and a strainer. Pour the liquid into the strainer, saving all the good stuff to pick through and add back into the stew. *I have known more than one person that very carefully strained off their stock RIGHT DOWN THE KITCHEN DRAIN*. Don’t do it. Make sure your strainer is over a pot or bowl.
Let things cool down so you won’t burn your fingers taking apart the chicken. In fact, my preference is to really cool down the stock, in the refrigerator, so I can take any extra grease off the top. If you don’t have time for this – here’s a little trick. Get a whole bunch of ice cubes and dump them into the stock. Wait a few seconds, and use a slotted spoon to pull them back out. Some of the extra grease will congeal to the ice cubes and come out with them.
Once you’ve removed any extra grease, pick through your chicken and chop it up. Put the chicken back into the stock. Repurpose your carrot! Chop it up into smaller pieces and put it back into the stock too. Start heating it back up, and when simmering again, add in any other veggies you like. I put in potatoes and sweet potatoes. Frozen veggies would be good…..just whatever strikes your fancy, really. Also, add seasoning to taste. I usually find it needs more pepper, and I also like to add some chicken bouillon seasoning, just to bump up the flavour a little. I used 2 tsp. of Epicure chicken bouillon, since it is allergen free for me. (My cousin sells it, and gave me insider information on the specific ingredients!) Once the veggies are cooked, you can thicken it up. I used ¼ cup water and about 3 heaping tbsp. of potato starch. You may need more or less thickener – add gradually and gauge as you go.
Sadly, my sinuses are still clogged, and it didn’t cure me, but my husband assures me that it was a good meal.
- I had to use my husband as taste tester while I added seasonings, because I literally could not taste anything about this meal. I could only tell that it was hot (as in warm to the touch). I’m gonna need my taste buds back soon.
- Since I’m still kicking around the grain-free thing, this obviously fits. Just watch your “add-ins” – spices, etc. – and this is easily an allergen free meal.