Warm ‘Em Up with Dijon Chicken Stew

     Since the cooking marathon of the holidays, I really haven’t been inspired to do anything in the kitchen beyond the simplest food preparation.  The to-do list from my New Year’s resolutions has gotten in the way, as well.  When we finally got a bit of a cold spell this past weekend, though, I was finally compelled to pull out the Le Creuset pot and get something aromatic stewing on the cooktop.

     One of my go-to cold weather recipes was published as Dijon Chicken Stew with Potatoes and Kale in the Richmond Times-Dispatch 6 years ago.  I cannot find it in their archives, so I have no one to whom I can attribute this melt-in-your-mouth dish.  If that chef should stumble upon this post, please reveal yourself so that I can give you proper attribution, as well as my thanks for this favorite.

     Unlike most of the other recipes featured on Avad Fan, this one is not quick, but what good stew recipe ever is?  It takes at least an hour and forty minutes from pulling out the pan to putting it on the table.  Over an hour of the time is spent simmering, so the home chef is not busy all of the time, but she should plan ahead and not try to prepare it when she has a busy afternoon of carpools.  Fortunately, the ingredient list is very manageable.

1 teaspoon PLUS 1 tablespoon olive oil

Don't forget to soak and rinse your leeks to get all the grit out.

2 cups sliced leeks
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs,
  cut into bite-sized pieces
½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast,
  cut into bite-sized pieces
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken broth, divided
1½ cups water
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups ½-inch cubed, peeled white potato,
  about 1 pound
5-6 ounces fresh spinach or kale leaves, washed
Crushed red pepper, optional

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add leeks; sauté 6 minutes or until tender and golden brown.  Add garlic; sauté 1 minute.  Spoon leek mixture into a large bowl.

Place 1/3 cup flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate.  Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.  Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high heat.  Add half of chicken mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.  Cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides.  Add browned chicken to leek mixture.  Repeat procedure with remaining chicken mixture, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

Add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Combine 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth.  Add broth mixture, remaining 2 cups broth, water and mustard to pan; bring to a boil.  Stir in chicken and leeks, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and remaining ¼ teaspoon black pepper.  Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Stir in potato.  Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes or until potato is tender.  Stir in spinach; cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Garnish with crushed red pepper if desired.

Makes six 1½-cup servings.

     When the cooking is done, you have a healthy and delicious winter stew that the whole family will enjoy.  What a warm and wonderful way to start off a February week.  Bon Appétit!

Photos by Avad Fan.


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