Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul, Deconstructed

I really love to cook, everyone knows this.  Usually my cooking is a result of whatever I happen to be craving or inspired by on that particular day, or something my fiance Corey wants.
Not yesterday, however.  I was 2 days into this awful cold I got - chills, aches, cough, the works.  I had been eating this wonderful minestrone soup I made for a few days, and now I had a cold.  Everyone knows you should eat chicken soup when you're sick, but I had had enough of soup.
I had no energy to stand in front of the stove for any length of time, but I hadn't eaten much all day, so I knew I had to make something good.  And I didn't want takeout or something out of a box - I wanted something nourishing and delicious, so I would be sure to devour it even though I had no appetite.  That's another thing everyone knows - you need to eat when you're sick, and get plenty of fluids.  But when Dayquil and Nyquil are a major component of your daily diet, it can be hard to get excited about food.  Especially when it will require a trip out to the grocery store and you don't even want to get off the couch.
So I started thinking, what can I make that is nourishing, comforting, and delicious?  And then I remembered seeing this recipe on before -

Chicken Stew with Lemon and Rosemary


  • 8 chicken thighs, roughly 2 1/2 pounds (each thigh about 6 ounces)
  • Kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 carrots, sliced into 1-inch bias cut (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch bias cut (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 3/4 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Buttered noodles, accompaniment
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a Dutch oven (12-inch diameter) over medium-high heat. Lay half of the chicken pieces skin-side down in the skillet. Cook the chicken, until golden-brown on both sides, turning once, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the carrots and celery, and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the rosemary, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the lemon juice, and scrape up any browned bits that cling to the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the broth, onions, lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring just to a boil.
Return the chicken skin-side up to the pot, taking care that the skin is just over the surface of the liquid, and then put the stew in the oven. Cook, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, tender, and lightly glazed and brown, about 40 minutes. Baste the chicken occasionally in the last 20 minutes of cooking. Meanwhile, use a fork to work the remaining 2 tablespoons butter into the 2 tablespoons flour to make a paste.
Remove the stew from the oven. Remove and discard the rosemary and arrange all the vegetables and chicken (reserving the juices in the pan) in a serving dish/bowl. Place the Dutch oven over medium heat and whisk the butter/flour mixture into the juices until dissolved. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened. Pour sauce over the chicken and serve immediately over buttered noodles.

It has the major components of chicken soup - chicken, carrots, celery, onions, noodles and stock, but it's not a soup.  It's such a basic recipe, but it sounded so delicious that I actually went out to the store in order to make it.  And it was perfect!
I made it basically as written, but I made 2 servings, and used 2 whole chicken legs.  It wasn't so much a chicken stew - it was more like braised chicken with a delicious gravy.  The rosemary and lemon really take it up a notch from ho-hum chicken.  I had it over egg noodles (no additional butter needed, the gravy is enough).
It takes a little while to cook, but most of the time is in the oven.  All you have to do is brown the chicken, saute the veggies, then put it all in the oven and wait for deliciousness.
If you try it, let me know - I'd love to hear about it!


  1. I am going to make something like this tonight. I bought chicken drumsticks, and knew i wante a stew/soup like dish, but was going to make it up. I might use this as my guide! Thanks.

  2. Great! Something like this is perfect for a rainy day!

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  4. LOVED this!!!!!!! I used some Real Lemon juice b/c I didn't have fresh lemon, so I imagine it could only be better. YUM! the sauce was very tangy and rich. Def a keeper. I made it pretty much as written w/less measuring.

  5. I like how you're linking some of the cooking terms to that dictionary.
    Also this is making me very hungry and somewhat homesick, I can't wait to have a normal kitchen again!

  6. Di- That's great! Glad you enjoyed it.
    Jen- Food Network did that, I copied & pasted the recipe here haha.