|My Rooster Stew|
In the spring, I always seem to have some little chicks around. Some of those little chicks turn into “my girls”—the hens that I nurture and keep for eggs. The others—well, I keep them for a while, too. Those are the ones that grow the magnificent tail feathers and strut through the hen yard.
They are also the ones that jump at my grandchildren when they go to gather eggs, and I don’t allow that. So … the roosters take a ride to the woods.
|My rooster, Stew!|
My mother and dad are retired farmers who live in a patch of woods. So, while I visit with my mother, the rooster “visits” with my dad. My mom and I keep a big pot of water boiling on the stove, and—just to make this part of the story short—later on in the day, I take a nice bag of fresh cut-up rooster home to my freezer.
Today, the wind is howling and the snow blowing: Rooster Stew is the perfect meal for a winter day like this. When I make it for family, though, I don’t mention I knew the main ingredient. It puts some people off.
If you would like to make rooster stew, here’s how:
Go to the freezer and take out a bag of frozen meat. Put it in a pot on the stove and add enough water to about cover it (I measured this time and it took about 10 cups). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let it simmer. (I often put the chicken on the stove in the morning, and leave it until mid- or late afternoon. By then, the meat will be falling right off the bones.)
Take the cooked chicken out of the pot, and put the covered pot of stock into the refrigerator overnight. The fat can be removed easily in the morning. Save the fat, and make soup with the stock and the meat you don’t use for this dish.
Remove the meat from the bones.
Cut up about 1-½ cups of the cooked chicken meat and set aside. Refrigerate the rest.
Assemble these ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter, divided
8 ounces mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 medium onions, cut into about 1-inch chunks
3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (red ones are nice, if you have them)
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp. dried tarragon leaves
1 can chicken broth (or you can use 1-½ cups of the cooking stock)
¾ cup water
¾ cup half-and-half (or milk)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup frozen peas
¾ teaspoon salt
In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add the mushrooms and cook and stir until brown. Remove them to the bowl with the reserved chicken.
Heat the remaining oil and butter in the Dutch oven. Add the onions, carrots, potatoes, bay leaf, tarragon, chicken broth and water. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix half-and-half with flour until smooth. Stir this mixture into the vegetable mixture; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and cook 1 minute to thicken slightly. Stir in chicken, mushrooms, peas and salt. Heat through. Remove bay leaf before serving.
This is a wonderful Saturday night supper for four, especially if you add a loaf of homemade bread and a tossed salad.
It’s truly a blue ribbon winner: I entered this recipe in a local contest last year! I didn’t tell a soul that the name of the rooster in the dish was … Stew!