Add onions and celery, cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.
Add chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink.
Turn heat down to low, pour in tomatoes, corn, chicken broth/stock, Arizona Dreaming. Cover and cook on low for 30-45 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve topped with slices of Avocado and shredded cheese.
This soup freezes well and is very inexpensive. You can use any type of chicken. I’ve made this stew with both chicken breast, and with thighs. Both work well, but the thighs are better, as they are fattier, and give the stew a richer mouthfeel that offsets the spice of the Ancho pepper in the Arizona Dreaming Spice Blend.
You can add other veggies if you like a stew with more veg. Zucchini, Italian squash, carrots are all solid choices.
The spice blend is not spicy, but it has a little heat. If you like your food on the mild side, start with 1T. and taste the soup after it has a chance to cook for about 10 minutes. Add more as needed.
I love a good, hearty beef stew. It can take a little effort, but oh, man is it worth it.
I made this last week, and I started off by looking at How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, which is a great cookbook if you are looking for something beyond the basics of Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens. Each recipe has tons of variations and substitution suggestions to make each dish your own.
This recipe is an amalgamation of Mr. Bittman’s recipe and several additions that give a rich, thick, hearty stew.
2.5-3 pounds of beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces
In a large stockpot, heat oil, and cook the beef in batches to brown. If your pot is large, there may not be a need to cook in batches.
After the beef is browned, add the onions, and cook until clear and tender.
Sprinkle flour over the meat and onions, and stir to combine.
Brown the flour gently, this may take a few minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. the flour will stick to the meat and onions- this is ok. While string, you may notice the flour forming a paste that browns- this is what you want.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add beef stock and thyme, and stir to combine and continue to stir as the mixture thickens.
As the stock thickens, add wine, tomato paste. Allow the stew to cook on low for 20-30 minutes.
Add potatoes and carrots and cook soup on low for 20-30 minutes with the lid on the stockpot.
Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Continue to simmer as desired, if you want thinner stew, add more stock. If you like a thicker stew, remove the lid and allow the stew to simmer for 10-20 minutes until the stew reaches your desired thickness.
Some notes: I add wine and tomato paste because the acid in both helps break down the collagen in the meat, making it more tender, and giving the stew broth a more luscious mouthfeel. You can do without one or the other if you prefer.
I don’t like peas, so I omit them from my stew. If you like them, add 1/2-1 cup frozen peas about 10 minutes before serving. This keeps them from getting mushy or falling apart.
If you like more of a French-style beef stew, add 1/2-1 cup chopped mushrooms when you add the other veggies.
This recipe makes about 8-10 servings of stew. I like to serve the stew with crusty french bread, or sourdough toast, and of course SALAD. I like a peppery arugula (or rocket) salad with beets, goat cheese, and a simple vinaigrette. That combination really pairs well with the richness of the stew.
And of course, this stew freezes well and tastes better the next day.
Earlier in the week I made beef stew. It was so good that I had a hard time waiting the full 10 hours until dinner to dish myself up a bowl! I cooked it on the stove, but it can definitely be cooked in a crockpot after the initial browning of the meat.
I based my recipe on my mom’s boeuf bourguignon recipe, but I omitted the bacon, as we didn’t have any in the house.
1.5 cups white onions, diced
3/4 cup each carrots and celery, diced
1 cup white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (tops only, stems may be discarded or saved for a later use)