We’ve gotten some very chilly nights recently, many more than is typical for warm AZ winters. I love, love, love soup and find myself craving it frequently. I get mesmerized by the process of methodically chopping through veggies and adding everything to the deep dutch oven at just the right moment.
Browning large chucks of chicken, producing that shiny, crispy skin.
Cooking down the mirepoix to golden brown and slightly translucent.
Sprinkling the salt and pepper softly, evenly over the pot to pull juices out.
Deglazing the pan with a little wine and scraping up all the yummy browned bits.
Snuggling up with a book or a loved one while the pot simmers, filling the house with warm, herby fragrances.
It’s my own personal science experiment, a process that yields consistently satisfying results. When people or work or my own expectations fail me, soup is a safe shelter. You can count on this chicken stew. It will not fail you. It will restore your faltering confidence or simply wrap you in warmth like a big hug after a long, hard day.
Bare Root Chicken Stew
(a traditional French Chicken Fricasse)
8 medium chicken thighs, bone-in & skin-on
1 T. butter
1 T. smoked paprika
3 t. salt, divided
2 t. pepper, divided
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
1 pint cremini mushrooms (baby bella), quartered
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 c. white wine
4 c. chicken broth
1 can coconut milk (well shaken), divided
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks
parsley, chopped for garnish
Sprinkle chicken thighs with smoked paprika, 1 t. salt and 1 t. pepper. Heat a deep dutch oven over medium high heat. Drop butter in, along with 4 of the chicken thighs. Brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining 4 thighs. Remove from heat and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium and place onion, carrot, celery, 2 t. salt and 1 t. pepper into the pot and cook until brown and translucent, about 5-7 min. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms begin to release their juices, about 2-3 min. Add white wine to the pot and bring to a simmer, scraping all the brown bits off the bottom. Add the chicken stock, 1 c. coconut milk, rosemary, and chicken thighs (along with all the juices) to the pot. Bring to a boil and then cover partially, cooking for another 20-25 min to fully cook the chicken.
While the chicken is simmering, combine lemon juice, egg yolks, and remaining coconut milk and whisk until combined. When the 20-25 min cook time has elapsed, ladle a small amount of soup into the egg mixture, whisking briskly as to not cook the egg. Continue ladling small amounts of soup into the mixture until it’s very warm to the touch. Then pour the warm egg mixture back into the soup and stir well. Simmer uncovered for another 5-10 minutes, or until the soup *begins to thicken (enough to coat the back of a spoon) and there is no longer and oil slick on top.
Serve in bowls and top with parsley to garnish.
*Note: This method is a traditional French thickening method called “liaison,” the combining of a cream and egg to thicken soup. It’s a great low-carb, paleo alternative to using flours or starches.*