Monday, December 3, 2012

How to make: Chicken Bean Stew with Biscuits

It's December 3rd, but the temperature is somewhere in the 60's today in Chicago.  I'm not complaining, because I really dislike being cold, but I really hope we get a real winter this year!  I'd especially like a little snow for the holidays.  Not enough to impede my travel (to Michigan), but just enough to make it festive.  January and February we better get a bunch of snow!  Well, even though it's not that cold, I was in the mood to make one of my favorite wintery dinners last night, Chicken Stew with biscuits.

Gather your ingredients:

Chicken Bean Stew
4 cups chicken stock
1 15oz can of white/northern beans, drained
1 cup of cooked chicken, shredded or in chunks
1 carrot, chopped
½ to 2 cups of fresh spinach, lightly chopped
(plus any other veggies you may have or want to add)
salt & pepper to taste

to thicken stew:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water (or more)

(preheat oven to 450°)
3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp Cream of Tarter
3/4 cup butter or 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup shortening
1 cup milk or 1¼ cups buttermilk

You can get your soup started and work on the biscuits while it's cooking.  Let's start with the biscuit recipe here, though:

Begin by combining all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Cut butter into pieces and add to the dry mixture.

Use a pastry cutter to cut the fat into the flour, until the butter/shortening is about pea-sized.

Make a well in the dough and add the milk all at once.

 Use a fork to mix until just combined.  You might have to fight with it a little, but try not to over-mix.

Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface:

Pat or roll down until the dough is 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick

 Cut out your biscuits with a biscuit cutter or the top of a glass, or whatever you have around!

Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 450 degree oven.


Now on to the stew:

I went ahead and defrosted some of my chicken stock that I had in my freezer.  When it was liquid again, I added the chicken, beans, and the chopped carrot.

Simmer, covered for about 20-30 minutes until the carrots are cooked. (you can work on your biscuits at this point!)  When the carrots are cooked, it's time to thicken the stew.  Combine the flour and water in a separate bowl until all the flour bits are completely dissolved.  Add more water if needed.

Turn up the heat on the stew to medium - medium/hot, so you have a nice boil.  Slowly add the flour/water mixture while stirring constantly.  Keep stirring while the stew thickens.

At this point, turn off the heat.  Add the spinach to the stew and stir until the spinach is cooked.

And you're done!  I like to but a biscuit in the bottom of my bowl and ladle the stew on top of it:

Or eat it on the side!

Or you can eat the biscuits by themselves with jam or honey.
Now cue the BEAUTY SHOTS!

Just look at that, it's perfect!
You don't even really need to make the stew.  The biscuits are good by themselves.  My husband ate about 7 of them in a row AFTER dinner!  If you like biscuits, or have a rival recipe, follow me on Facebook and Twitter and let me know!

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