These cool nights are scintillating! We’ve got the fire blazing, the candles (I love the battery operated ones that pretend to flicker) are ‘lit’, and we’ve transitioned to the hearty fare that fall vegetables enhance so deliciously.
My garden has provided all the onions and garlic that we have needed through the summer, but now we are well endowed with butternut squash and roasting it is almost as good as candy.
Tonight I am making a vegetable stew with chicken inspired by my hero, Ina Garten.
She makes a divine Vegetable Pot Pie that I have modified because not only does pastry intimidate me but I improvise with what I have on hand and what looks particularly vibrant in the market.
Here is my Chicken and Vegetable Stew. Spoon this over hot corn bread and you have a sensational fall supper.
1 stick unsalted butter
3 cups onions sliced thin
4 carrots & 2 parsnips, chopped
1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon thyme
Roasted butternut squash
1 cup peas
1 roasted chicken
Begin by preheating the oven to 425 and preparing a cookie sheet covered with foil coated with olive oil. Cut up a butternut squash into 1″ cubes, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and olive oil, and roast until brown.
Melt 1 stick of butter in a nice sturdy pot. I love my Le Creuset pot. Everything cooks in it perfectly and it is simple to clean. Gently saute the sliced onions, carrots and parsnips in the butter on low heat for 15 minutes with the lid on, and stir occasionally.
Add the flour and let it cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally. Then add the chicken stock. (I use the organic chicken stock from Imagine.) Add all the spices, stir as the sauce thickens and breathe in the heady fragrance filling your kitchen. Gently simmer for 10 minutes then turn it off.
Check on the squash in the oven, and remove the pan if it is nicely brown and tender.
Cut the head of broccoli into chunks and steam until just tender.
Remove the chicken from the bone and shred.
Now, add the vegetables to the pot, including the frozen peas using your good judgement to balance out the ratio of vegetables. Save the rest for snacking. Do the same with the chicken. I use about 3/4 of the meat and save the rest for sandwiches.
At this point, if I have made this earlier in the day, I refrigerate the stew and let all the flavors saturate the vegetables.
When you have a hungry family begging you for dinner, just heat the stew and serve it over a piece of hot corn bread slit in half, or over brown rice for a healthier option.
This makes 4 generous portions.