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Provençal Chicken Stew

This recipe was inspired by the flavors I have enjoyed on my visits to the south of France.
Kathleen Inman, Owner and Winemaker, Inman Family Wines

8-10 boned chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
4 carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bulb fennel (save fennel fronds to add later), chopped

In a heavy bottomed pot, sear chicken. When browned, slightly remove chicken and drain off fat, but do not clean pot. Add a little olive oil and sweat the mirepoix (carrots, leeks, celery and garlic). After about 5 minutes, add fennel and chicken.

Add to chicken and vegetables:
2 pinches of saffron
4 anchovy fillets smashed with a fork or mortar (secret ingredient!!)
1 bay leaf
3-6 sprigs of thyme
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups dry, high acid white wine (Inman Family Russian River Valley Pinot Gris)

Add more if this does not cover the chicken and vegetable mixture. Place lid on pot. (If you wish to use a slow cooker, this is the time to move it to the slow cooker). Simmer for 1 hour.

Add:
1 red pepper, cut into thin, two inch strips
2 tbls chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbls chopped fennel fronds
1/8 tsp cayenne
Sea salt to taste

Simmer for further 30 minutes. Fish out any woody stems from the thyme and the bay leaf.

Add:
1/4 to 1/2 cup salt cured black olives or Niçoise olives

Simmer further until ready to serve. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a little more minced parsley.

Serves 6-8