Chicken Stew

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Winter can be an especially brutal time of year. The days are short on sunlight and long on cold. Deep into the cold winter, a beautiful and hearty soup or stew seems to be just what is needed. Plus, a large batch of soup or stew can be made once, frozen and reheated as needed to be enjoyed throughout the rest of the month.

Unlike in summer, there may not be the rich array of fresh, healthy foods easily available. However, that does not mean that one has to serve up a bland or unhealthy dish. In cold winter days, a hearty and healthy chicken stew can be just the thing and can incorporate the flavors of the season.

One such recipe for a chicken stew that is both hearty and healthy and makes 12 servings is:

8 cups cooked chicken breast meat cubed
10 cups vegetable broth
1 cup cooked barley
3 cups chopped parsnips
6 cups cooked, diced sweet potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion, sauteed in olive oil
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste

Start by cooking the chicken breasts in your preferred manner. Cook barley according to package instructions. Saute onion in olive oil. Cook and dice the sweet potatoes.

In a large saucepan, combine the vegetable broth, barley, parsnips and celery. Cook at a simmer over a medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until ingredients have reached the desired level of softness.

Add the cubed chicken, barley, onions and sweet potatoes to the mixture. Cook this mixture for an addition 10-15 minutes. Stir in flour to thicken the sauce. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

For a variation on this, replace the cooked barley with cooked brown rice. Instead of vegetable broth, chicken or beef stock may be substituted. Scallions may be substituted for the onion, or they may be used in addition to the onion. You can also puree a few veggies to thicken the stew, such as cauliflower or carrots, or even 1-2 potatoes.

This hearty chicken stew can be dressed up by sprinkling it with a bit of fresh parsley. Alternatively, this dish may be spiced up with the addition of a bit of crushed red pepper or pepper flakes. You can also add frozen veggies, of course.

This healthy and hearty chicken stew may easily be cooked, frozen and reheated for later dinners as needed throughout the month. This is a wonderful stew for cold winter days, and it is something that the entire family can enjoy.

 

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