I love cold weather cooking. Soups, pot pies, stews, noodle dishes, rice dishes, warm comfort foods that connect with your SOUL, man. And March in Maine is not spring folks- we are STILL getting freezing temps and snow even tho its supposedly spring.
This blog is all about turning your chicken soup, into chicken STEW. Or to make a nice thick gravy for a pot pie, but in this particular instance, its all about the stew…
First get your soup base together. I have a go to recipe that I’ve used for years, that mrgillis happens to love as either soup, stew or pot pie. The basic herbs and spices stay the same, the veggies are what differ from dish to dish.
For this stew, we have garlic, onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, peas and chicken. Herbs are white pepper, ground sage, onion and garlic powders, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, basil, oregano and the most ungodly amount of parsley. But it works, and you need it.
Now, make sure this soup base has melded together for pretty much the whole day. That’s the best way to flavor soups, stews, the whole lot of broth/gravy based meals.
Now, to make a blonde roux, is actually a french tehcnique. I will NEVER claim to be as badass as Julia Child, but I do believe in branching out when it comes to cuisine. And to never be afraid.
Especially when it comes to butter and flour
Very simply, you need equal parts fat and starch in order to form the glob that will disolve into your soup and transform it into stew. For a large stew, I go with a full stick of salted butter and melt that down on low until it starts to take on a nice golden color. Then add in the equal amount of flour (1/2 cup), very slowly whisking it in to incorporate it completely.
Once you have a good thick paste going, you very carefully add small amounts of broth from the soup to the paste, gradually thinning it out, but also keeping it on a small flame to keep it THICK
After a lof of back and forth, carefully adding this to the soup so as to not get big clumps of roux instead of a nice consistency, and let your soup start to cool. This will kickstart the thickening process, and this small amount of roux you made, will transform your soup from…..
well- from soup to stew….
Which is best enjoyed with biscuits straight from the oven. I am lazy and make drop biscuits, because there is not rolling and almost never a biscuit failure.
With this method of making a roux, your stew will be even THICKER the next day after it settles in, so keep that in mind before going overboard. One last note, I precook my chicken in the same frying pan that I make the roux, to add depth of flavor. It is not a necessary step, but its one I personally enjoy.
Until next time, have a wicked good day!