Chicken Stew (aka chicken pot pie filling)

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The weekend.  Finally we’ve got some real nice spring weather that looks like it just might stick.  1000 and 1 things to do and even at 55 years old I still get that spring-wanting-to move mountains feeling.  So, even with these extra busy days on the farm, I still want us to eat healthy hearty meals.  Enter: the slow cooker.  I’ve been having a hankering for some down home cooked chicken stew and my one of my husband Peter’s favourite dishes (he has many) is chicken pot pie.  Well, doesn’t it work out well that chicken stew is chicken pot pie filling?

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This morning, I cubed three generous cups of chicken breast, 1.5 cups of potato, three carrots, two large stocks of celery and tossed them into the bottom of my slow cooker.  Next, I added 4 cups of chicken broth (I use my home made, but any high quality store bought will do).  Now, you can add half a cup of chopped onion at this point, but I like to use….pickled pearl onions about 4 generous tablespoons.  Next, I add 1 teaspoon of sage (rubbed or ground), 1 tablespoon ground garlic, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 2 tablespoon dried parsley.  Don’t add salt at this point.  Now, set your slow cooker to low and go away.  Leave it alone. 

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Okay, now your busy day is almost done.  Smell that chicken stew!  Now we want to thicken the deal.  Turn your cooker on to high.  Wait ten minutes with the lid still on.  In a measuring cup, put in two heaping tablespoons of corn starch.  Add water and stir until there are no lumps.  Slowly add this in stirring gently.  It should thicken nicely for you.  If not…wait a few minutes, stir again and if it still does not thicken add another tablespoon of corn starch in your measuring cup, add water stir until smooth and slowly add this to your cooker.  Remember you do not want this too thick.  Now…slowly add your salt 1/4 teaspoon at a time, stir, taste, add, stir taste add until you have it right where you want it.  SALT CAN BE ADDED AND NOT SUBTRACTED, this is why we add salt carefully.  Some people get carried away and ruin many dishes by not taking their time.  Also, you can add any spice you think would be nice at this stage.  I added 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper for that little kick.  At this point your chicken stew is perfect.  Add bread and butter or a nice buttermilk biscuit and enjoy!

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For those of you who want to venture further and create a chicken pot pie…. Either buy or make a regular pie crust and spoon in your chicken stew.  Don’t feel you have to use it all.  You don’t want it to run over.

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Cover the the top, making sure you vent it.  I cut out a heart shape for my vent.  Be as creative as you wish or as plain as you like. 

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I pop the left over chicken stew in the freezer in lunch sized portions.

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Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes until your crust is golden brown.

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I add interest and sparkle with a side of cranberry sauce.  Tonight’s salad was tomato cucumber.  Any questions…just ask!  Don’t forget to click the pics for the full effect.  Thanks for viewing! Leasa

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