It’s early morning, before the sun has cast any light in the sky. The house is quiet and warm, my coffee brewing perhaps for the last time in our Bunn maker which has served its purpose and resigned from consistent performance a few weeks back. It’s the most delicious time of day for me, when I can be alone with my thoughts and set my intentions for the day. Wait – that sounded way more spiritual and organized than I meant. I may just write a few things down on my to-do list and decide what time of day I will attempt to get some exercise! Perhaps narrow down what I plan to make for dinner!
But seriously, I just love the quiet these days whenever I happen upon it. What about you? Now by quiet, I don’t mean the state we’ve all found ourselves back in of staying home a bit more to ride out this latest pandemic wave. I just mean no dinging and donging of the phone, no television, no human or pets in our immediate personal space, and not even the noise of cars driving by. I had a wakeful night and by the wee hours I had enough so decided to take advantage and am happy to be at my computer to reconnect with you and start off the new year of The Kitchen Scout.
So let’s get to it.
I’ve been cooking a lot this month, as I’m sure so many of you have as well. But I have also been trying to reset from a fun holiday season and eat a bit cleaner. It’s a challenge but I do feel so much better and for the most part, last night notwithstanding, my sleep has also improved drastically! Also during this quieter month, we’ve been catching up on shows, watching one of our absolute feel good favorites on PBS, All Creatures Great and Small. It’s a huge contrast to season four of Yellowstone which we are also enjoying, but variety is the spice of life! And we are eagerly anticipating the fourth season of Ozark that is dropping Friday, remembering the shocking ending of season 3. In fact, we are planning to go back and watch the last few episodes of season 3 to refresh our memories!
But back to the cooking. Sometimes, I get a consistent craving and lately it has been for lots of soups and stews. They are so easy to eat, warming and healthy. I made a split pea soup and a butternut squash soup both in the crockpot (so easy!) as well as some chili and this Italian Wedding Soup that my husband really enjoyed.
Last week, I found myself with a large rotisserie chicken that I pulled the meat off of to use for lots of different things, but started craving some kind of chicken stew. After looking at a few different recipes for some inspiration, I winged it as I often do, using things I had in my fridge that you most likely have as well. I have to say that it turned out really well, delicious if I do say so myself!
I posted a photo of my Lemony Chicken Stew with Parsley and Dill to my Instagram stories and there was a lot of interest so I figured it would be a good idea to sit down and write out the recipe before I forgot the ingredients and steps. I did that straight away and am sharing it with you today. What’s better than a warm and nourishing stew to make for your family, or even just for yourself?
The process starts like most every soup and stew with a leek (or onion), some carrots and celery sauteed in some olive oil in a dutch oven. Four chopped cloves of garlic are added and stirred for just a minute to release its aroma. To that base, a can of diced tomatoes is added (I always add these to soups for color and flavor), along with a 12-ounce bag of frozen cauliflower rice and 4 cups of low sodium chicken stock. To flavor the soup, I add the juice of one large lemon (add the zest too if you love lemon), some fresh baby spinach, tomato paste, some basil pesto, a bay leaf, dried oregano and fresh parsley, plus the shredded chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer until everything is heated through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with lots of fresh dill, and some finely chopped pitted kalamata olives (optional).
The soup has lots of flavor and is even better the next day. I was going for a little bit of a Greek influence with the lemon and dill, and decided instead of putting olives into the stew itself since not everyone likes them, to add them as a garnish. If you like olives, you need to use them because while the dill adds a fresh, grassy note, the olives add a hint of brininess that really complements the flavors! The cauliflower rice helps to almost thicken the stew so it has lots of heft, but if you like your stews more brothy you can add more chicken broth as you wish. You will need to add some to leftovers as with most stews to thin it out after storing.
I hope you make this recipe, and if you are eating clean this month, this stew definitely will help you with your mission!
Note – if you scroll down to my recipe below for Sheet Pan Fajitas, I just want to mention that I have used that recipe and the fajita seasoning mix a lot this month, with chicken and steak tips and my family went particularly nuts for the chicken version so it’s a very flexible recipe/method. Please give it a try!
And the blog post below for Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce has some thoughts about detoxing from my friend, Francine that is definitely worth a read. Her words are very true today as they were seven years ago!
It’s still dark, it’s still quiet. Delicious.
Until next time…