Sometimes, I buy potatoes and forget to use them. And then a couple weeks later I stumble upon them, their creepy little eyes bulging out at me. Sometimes, things get really bad.
If I catch them before a forest takes root, I take it as a personal challenge to find a way to use them up as quickly as possible—before things get really bad. Living with an, um, interesting eater like Harry means that there’s a staggering amount of food waste. Throwing away food before it’s even cooked (ie, because it’s my fault) just rubs salt in my wounded wallet.
This little stew has two big things going for it: One, it uses a bunch of little potatoes. Two, unlike most stews, which simmer for hours, this one’s ready in about 40 minutes, from beginning to end. And yet it’s every bit as comforting, every bit as satisfying, as the stew you’ve spent the better part of a day on.
It’s a whoops-I-forgot-to-plan-dinner kind of stew, as well as being a whoops-I-forgot-to-use-the-potatoes recipe. The world needs more of those, don’t you think?
So, what ingredient do you forget to use?
Quick & Smoky Chicken Stew
2 strips bacon, sliced into thin strips (I use turkey)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, halved vertically and sliced very thin
2 tablespoons flour
salt & pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut into 4 to 6 large chunks
2 carrots, cut into thick rounds
10 small potatoes (I used baby Yukon Golds), cut into thick slices
10 crimini mushrooms, cut into thick slices
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
A handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped, divided
- Before you chop anything beyond the onions: In a Dutch oven or large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Add a splash of olive oil to the pot—how much will depend on how much fat your bacon has left behind—and then the onion. Reduce heat to low and let them cook, stirring occasionally, while you prep remaining ingredients. They should be quite soft and golden-brown by the time you move on to the next step.
- Put the flour and salt and pepper in a large zipper-lock bag, then add the chicken. Toss to combine. Transfer the onions into a large bowl, add a splash of oil if the pot looks dry, and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook until browned, about 3 minutes a side. (You may need to do this in two batches.)
- Transfer the chicken to the onion bowl and add the remaining vegetables to the pot. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the sherry and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove all the delicious browned bits; simmer until most of the sherry has bubbled away. Return the chicken and onions to the pan, and add the broth and half the parsley. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with bacon and remaining parsley before serving.
MAKE BABY FOOD: Either cut up for finger food, or puree the entire dish. There’s a teensy bit of alcohol from the sherry—nearly all of it will have cooked off, and I would’ve served this to baby Harry without hesitation. If you’re at all uncomfortable, substitute apple juice in the recipe. The flavor will be a bit sweeter, but close enough.