It snowed in Vancouver today! It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I am over the moon. This is what winter is about. Bright skies, blinding white snow, rosy cheeks, wool mittens, mugs of creamy hot chocolate, and a steaming bowl of stew.
This succulent chicken stew with apples and cabbage might just be the best stew ever made. It's got cream and bacon, need I go on? It is positively packed with earthy vegetables. Tender bites of tart apple offset the richness. Sweet, aromatic sage perfectly complements the winter flavours.
I mopped it up with warm, homemade whole wheat bread, and then I licked the bowl.
The celery root is a lumpy, gnarled tuber. The ugly stepsister of vegetables if ever there was one. Don't let it's arthritic, bulbous appearance put you off. It's flavour is fresh, and it's texture is rich and potato-like. Also known as celeriac, it is the nutrient-packed root of a specific kind of celery plant. It tastes like celery, with the volume cranked way up high. In a pleasant way. It mellows out perfectly in a slow-cooked dish.
Of course, the blog post was this close to being called Seagull Stew with Cabbage and Apples. But let's not go down that road again.
Chicken Stew with Apples and Cabbage
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch lengths (scissors work optimally here!)
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, or 3 small
1/2 medium green cabbage, finely sliced crosswise (2 1/2 to 3 cups shredded)
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 celery root, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces
4 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp flour
1 cup cream
2 tbsp minced fresh sage
2 bay leaves
1. Heat a large, lidded saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and saute until browned; set aside. Pour off fat, then return 2 tablespoons to the pan.
2. Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer, being careful not to over-crowd the pan (you will probably have to do 2 batches); brown on all sides then set chicken aside with the bacon.
3. Add olive oil to the pan, swirling to coat. Add onion and saute until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add cabbage, apples and celery root and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, stir flour into 1/2 cup of the chicken broth - be sure to eliminate any lumps. Add flour mixture to pot along with remaining broth, cream, sage and bay leaves. Stir in the chicken and bacon, and cover. When it comes to a rapid simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender and celery root is cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.