Sunday, December 28, 2008

Savory Fruited Chicken Stew

Goodness knows where this came from. I was walking through the grocery store and started getting instructions from some spirit on what to buy and what to make. This sounded so weird but was delicious! I suspect it is adapted from something in the middle ages!! I kept seeing castles in my head when I made it!

1 1/2 lbs bing cherries, pitted and stemmed
4 large or 8 small pears, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium sweet vidalia or other sweet onion cut into bite sized pieces
1 whole head of garlic, peeled and minced

1 - 1 1/2 lbs chicken (either thighs or breasts, boneless and skinless)

1 can chicken stock (actually you only use about 3/4)
olive oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
+ 3 T butter
fresh or dried thyme... if using fresh, about 5 T
if using dried, about 2 T

Any cooked grain or couscous, or if you want to make risotta, you need:
2 C rice
2 T butter
2 cans chicken broth
extra broth from stew.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the cherries, pears, onion, and garlic in a big bowl. Pour 1/2 c melted butter over top, then liberally salt, pepper and add half the thyme. Sounds weird but it'll be good. Roast for 20 minutes and then take out.

Meanwhile, on medium high, heat 3 T butter and olive oil to coat the bottom of a pan big enough to hold chicken breasts or thighs. Add other half of the thyme and carefully place chicken in. Liberally salt and pepper. Cook at least 5 minute per side till done. Remove off the heat, remove chicken to a platter, and cut into bite sized pieces. If its fatty, remove the fat.

Put the remains back over medium heat. Add about 4 T butter or so and mix to make a roux (thickening agent). Add 1/2 can of chicken stock and dump in roasted fruit mixture. Let simmer and scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot and mix in well (flavor!). Add chicken pieces and let simmer. You can add more broth if its too thick for your tastes.

What I did is dump all the broth in. Then I heated 2 extra cans of chicken stock and made risotto with that, 2 cups of rice, and the extra broth...basically, I heated 2 T butter over medium high and stirred in 2 c dry rice till it got toasted a little. Then I added the chicken broth, about 1/2 cup at a time stirring constantly. As it dries up you add more broth. Eventually you'll get all the chicken broth in, then you start ladelling in extra liquid from the stew pot. Keep it up for 21 minutes, stirring and adding liquid when dry till the risotta is creamy and nice to eat. If you get stuck with not enough liquid, add some water. Its not magic. You just want it to be creamy and not soggy. Then I served the stew over the risotta and sank into bliss!

You could also serve over any grain or couscous.

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