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So, once upon a time, I used to sing, “Someday my nerd will come.”
Now, I just want a dishwasher.
I have a dishwashing machine, but this is what I do to it.
Clearly I need help.
When I was discussing the perfect man with some coworkers a while back, I told them I had pared down all the hopes and dreams of my youth to this very short list -
1. Not disfigured
2. Doesn’t mind doing the dishes
3. Would be willing to walk the dogs from time to time
I was told not to hold out for number two.
What do you think, readers?
Ok, kidding aside, you know those times at work when even though you love it you feel like you’re carrying far more than your fair share of the workload and it makes you grumpy and kind of want to punch everyone in the face just a little bit?
And you know you don’t have time for more people in your life just at the moment, but there’s that little insistent lovelorn part of you that still kinda wants someone to share your I-want-to-punch-everyone-in-the-face urges with so they can bear hug you and hand you a small glass of bourbon?
That’s when you need this stew.
Tuscan Chicken Stew
(adapted from a recipe at TCB)
First, I hope you keep bacon fat around. Do you keep bacon fat around? Good. I knew there was a reason we’re friends. Start with that.
Chicken (whole cut up or just thighs)
1 medium carrot, medium dice
1 medium onion, medium dice
1 stalk celery, medium dice
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 pinch fennel seed
1 pinch dried rosemary
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 splash of red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 bunch of kale, chiffonade (I know, I normally don’t like kale either, but trust me on this one. Ok, fine, use spinach if you want, but you’re missing out)
1 15 ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
Before we get started, quick aside. Look at how much a whole chicken costs per pound!
So much cheaper to just break down your own.
There are plenty of youtube videos to show you how to break one down. This one from Serious Eats is ok and mercifully short. It’s not how I would do it (why didn’t he take off the wing tip?? What about if people want boneless breasts?), but it’s alright.
Also, when you break down your own chickens, you get the bones for stock. If you have lots of bones, you can make traditional white stock. Or you could roast lots of bones and make roasted chicken stock. If you freeze it, you can keep it around for months.
Then you can just hack of what you need -
Heat large pan to medium high heat.
Add bacon fat.
Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear chicken, skin side down first, until deeply browned. Flip and repeat.
Remove to a rack so as not to wash off your sear when the chicken drips.
Turn heat down to medium low and add carrots, onion, and celery with a pinch of salt. Cook until lightly caramelized.
Add cabbage and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes.
Add spices, tomato paste, and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Deglaze with white wine.
Add chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, red wine vinegar and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Add a pinch more salt and pepper. Add chicken thighs and legs back in and cook for 20 minutes.
Add chicken breasts in and cook another 15-20. Taste for seasoning. Adjust.
Add beans and kale.
Cook until they are just warmed through.
You can also take the chicken off the bone and shred it before adding it back to the stew.