Friday, May 18, 2012

How to make a Kickin' Chicken Stew

Part of my family's traditions when I was growing up was going to "Chicken Stews".  For some people a Chicken Stew is an event.  For others it may be the actual stew cooking in the pot.  For me it was being around the people I enjoyed being with, and getting to chow down on some good food.  A few weeks ago, I was telling my wife about the Chicken Stews I went to growing up, and she had never heard of them, and I proceeded to tell her what they were, and tried to show her...but there wasn't hardly anything online about it.  The only thing I truly found was a Wikipedia article that gave a brief description and I believe a 1-2 sentence basic ingredient list.  I was so disappointed in my findings that I set out to be quite possibly the first person to share this recipe online ( I doubt it too, but I can dream.  Besides, I couldn't find one, so it's a first in my eyes). So get your pen and paper and get ready to be schooled on the next best thing you may ever eat.

Before I move on to the ingredients and how to make it, I want you to know that I wish I had the photos and video to walk you through this step by step but I don't.  I will make this promise though.  If I get an overwhelming response to this post I WILL make a video from start to finish of how to do it.  I'm not lazy, but it is a pretty hefty task of cooking and trying to film by yourself with a couple of kids running around.  Okay, now on to the goods!


  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Whole Milk
  • Butter / Margarine (Pref. Butter)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Extra Stuff that makes it better:

  • Chicken Stock (Homemade if possible)
  • Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • Hot Sauce
  • Saltine Crackers

If you are one of those people that measure out things to the exact drop and go strictly by a recipe, then you need to run and hide right now.  I cook by the seat of my pants?  Kind of.  I cook until the food looks and tastes right to me, and the may mean altering or changing stuff along the way to make it happen.  Cooking is really about preference.  I will give some substitutions along the way, but overall, I'm sharing this the way I would serve it to someone.

To start off, put your whole chicken in a large pot or crock-pot.  I prefer the crock-pot, but a pot is fine if your in a hurry.  You can use chicken breast instead of a whole bird but the flavor just won't be there.  Most of the flavor in this dish comes from the slow cooking on the bone just like a barbecue is done.

One you have the bird in the cooking dish of choice, cover it as much as possible with chicken stock.  I save my leftover stock from one stew to the next, which seems to intensify the flavor a little more.  Store bought stock will also be fine.  If you don't have stock on hand, or don't feel like getting any, water will work also, just add a couple of chicken bouillon cubes to the water.

Cook times vary on the chicken.  If you do the crock-pot method, you can put it on before bed, and you'll know it's ready by the time you're ready to cook dinner the following day.  If you cook it on the stove top, you need to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.  When you start to break the chicken down, if you notice any pink or bloody spots, don't fear.  Keep on breaking it down, and add it back to the pot with some stock to cook a little longer until done.

Once the chicken is done, you have to remove the bone and shred the meat.  I usually cut the wings and legs off first.  Then I cut the breast and tenders away from the spine.  Always double check for little bones.  I do the dirty work of cutting all the meat away from the bone and cartilage, but I cheat when it comes to shredding it.  Shredding it by hand works good, especially if you use a fork or two.  I cheat.  I place my meat in a "Ninja" food processor, and cover all the meat with stock and *blitz* it a few seconds at a time to achieve a small but sizable shred of meat.

Now is the time to strain your stock and set it to the side for a minute.  If you use the processor method above, be sure to strain the stock first.

If you use the processor method, just pour your blended meat back into the pot.  If you shredded the meat by hand or other means, add it back to the pot, and cover with strained stock.  This is where preference seems to come into play.  I don't use all of the stock that I got from my chicken to cover it back with.  I tend to like mine a little bit thicker, so I lay off of some of the stock.  Bring your stock and meat up to a slight boil and add in about a cup of whole milk.

I use flour to thicken my stew.  The trick is you really shouldn't add flour to hot liquids because it just clumps and makes the stew lumpy.  A way around this is to pour about a half cup of whole milk and mix in enough flour to thicken the milk some.  It should be about equal parts milk and flour.  Now you can pour the flour/milk mix into the stew while stirring without getting the flour clumps.

Adjust the flour and milk to achieve the thickness you want.  Thicker means more flour, thinner means more milk.

Now for the butter.  I generally add a whole stick.  This is completely up to your butter preference.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  I also throw in another chicken bouillon cube or two for good measure. You can also add the hot sauce to it now, but we usually let everyone do that on their own because of the kids.  We also serve it over saltine crackers, but again that's just preference.

I know this might look like a lot, but it really isn't.  I was just trying to describe the steps in lieu of photos and video.  There isn't anything really hard about making a chicken stew.  Just remember to try not to rush it.  Take your time and take pride in your work.  When you take pride in it and love what you are doing, the food will speak novels via taste that your mouth could never explain.

If anyone out there was curious before about how to make this stew, I hope I quenched that curiosity well enough.  Feel free to ask questions below or on one of the social sites.  If you feel I left something out, please share it below for everyone else.

As always, do something nice for someone else and always try to Pay It Forward.


  1. Thanks for the instructions. I love chicken stews. Didn't know how to make, I do now.

    1. No problem! Glad someone can get some use out of this. On a side note, best of luck with your Blogger endeavors. Waiting to see what you did.


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