Rustic French Chicken Stew

To Know:

It is just not a winter cooking season without a stew or two. Sure, they can be a little labor intensive upfront, but the trade off is an oven-to-table, one-pot dinner wonder that only gets better as it morphs into lunches throughout the week. Stews are rustic and bursting with flavors sure to be appreciated by company, for Sunday dinner, or any night of the week if you get your prep work done ahead of time. Serve with a cool, crisp tossed salad and some crusty bread schmeared with butter (for sopping, natch) to send you on a bon voyage from the comforts of home.

To Get:

2-2 1/2  pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

2  teaspoon dried tarragon, divided

1 1/2  teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 1/2  teaspoons ground black pepper

1/4  cup all-purpose flour

2  tablespoons unsalted butter

2-3  tablespoons olive oil

3  carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2  celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1  fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and cut into chunks (reserve fronds for garnish)

1  large onion, peeled and cut into chunks

3  garlic cloves, roughly chopped

Zest and juice of one lemon (always zest first, then juice)

1/4  cup dry vermouth (dry white wine, chicken stock or water also works)

2  tablespoons whole-grain mustard

1-1 1/2  pounds bite-sized potatoes

6  cups unsalted or low-sodium chicken stock

To Do:

  1. Cut the chicken breast into roughly 1-inch chunks and toss in a bowl with 1 teaspoon tarragon, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Let hang out in the fridge for an hour, or longer if you have the time.
  2. After and hour or more, remove chicken from fridge to come to room temperature, and prep your veggies.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the seasoned chicken chunks with the flour, coating evenly.
  4. Warm the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer and sear each side. It should take 4-5 minutes to brown all sides of the chicken pieces. You may have to repeat this step one or two more times, as you do not want to overcrowd the pan while browning. After each round of chicken is done, remove it to a plate for the time being and proceed with the next round.
  5. Once all the chicken chunks are browned, add your veggies and a pinch of salt to the dutch oven, using the other tablespoon of oil if the pan is too dry. Cook the veggies a good 5 minutes until you can see them begin to change color and lightly soften.
  6. Stir in the garlic and lemon zest. After a minute, add the dry vermouth, using the moisture to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  7. Next add in the whole-grain mustard and remaining dried tarragon, salt and pepper. Once thoroughly combined, toss in the potatoes and the browned chicken cubes, including any juices that have accumulated on the plate.
  8. Top with the chicken stock, raise the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Cover the dutch oven and place it in the oven for one hour.
  9. Remove pan from the oven, give a stir and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 20-30 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Give it a stir every 10 minutes or so, if it’s convenient.
  10. Finally, taste for additional salt and pepper, stir in the lemon juice, serve and nosh!

Serves 4-8

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