The weather called for snow last Saturday and freezing temperatures through New Years. As soon as I heard that I was immediately in the mood to make a hearty winter stew. After a quick food shop last Saturday, I got to making this stew right when we got home.
Domestocrat’s Best Winter Stew (yields 5 big servings or 8 small servings)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. EVOO
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. AP flour
3 shallots, finely minced
1 yellow onion, finely minced
1 tbsp. EVOO
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 sausage (chorizo, andouille, or whatever you like)
48 oz. low sodium chicken stock
1 cup bulgur
1 cup frozen peas
1.5 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
To start, marinate the chicken in balsamic vinegar and EVOO for 15 minutes. Bake on 300 degrees for 35 minutes. Let it fully cool while you prep the rest of the stew.
Chop the onions and shallots and saute with the EVOO over medium heat. When the onions and shallots just start to brown, add the sausage to the pot and brown on all sides.
While that is cooking, chop the carrots. Add to the pot and cook on medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes.
Cooking the carrots first allows them to be flavored by the onions, shallots, and sausage rather than just plopping them raw into the stock later.
While that is all cooking together combine the butter and flour in a separate pot and cook together over low heat. This will form the roux that will thicken the soup later. Cook until the roux comes to a slight bubble and starts to brown around the edges.
When the roux is done remove the sausage from the soup pot and set side. Add the roux and stir to combine into the veggies. Add half of the chicken stock to the pot (about 24 oz./4 cups) and stir continuously over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens.
When the stew has thickened, turn to low heat and cover the pot. Cut the sausage up into bite sized pieces and shred the cooled chicken. Add those to the pot and stir to combine.
Cover the stew and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. In the meantime, chop the mushrooms into bite sized pieces and mince the parsley. Next add both to the pot.
The fresh parsley will brighten the stew and I preferred it to dry herbs here.
After the stew has simmered for another 10 minutes add the bulgur. Cover and simmer. Remove the lid and stir 5 minutes later. If the bulgur absorbs too much of the stock just add more. Stir and check the stock every 5 minutes until the bulgur is fully cooked. I ended up adding another 15-20 oz. of stock (1-2 cups) to balance the thickness of the stew.
When the bulgur is cooked and the stew’s consistency is just right, add the peas. Frozen are fine here and I actually prefer them. I think the flavor is brighter and fresher.
Once the peas have thawed in the stew it is ready to eat. I let my stew simmer on low heat for another 20 minutes before serving. No matter when you decide to eat it, taste and adjust for seasonings before you serve it up.
This recipe is called The Best Winter Stew for a reason. I ate it at our dining room table while watching the snow fall outside. It was really tasty and comforting from the inside out. I can’t wait to repeat this stew all winter!