It’s 20 degrees outside (in SCOTLAND), so subsequently my brain decided it would like a hearty and warming chicken stew. However, I have made it more summery by calling it Italian and adding basil, suncream*, and tomatoes.
If you want to omit the chicken, the sauce is pretty substantial and delicious as it is – but I really was having a meat-craving (I don’t tend to buy it often, so it’s one of the things I crave) and I have no ragrets. It also happens to be dairy-free, so if you take out the chicken, it’d be vegan. I know that’s a silly thing to say when the whole recipe is called Italian Chicken Stew, but it could very easily become Italian Unchicken Stew.
It doesn’t take too long either – only about 10 mins of prep and 30 minutes of cooking. That’s enough time to go about 1/138th of the way to the moon in the apollo 8 rocket!
You’ll most likely require:
- 500g of a cheap, flavoursome cut of chicken BUT IS STILL BRITISH QUALITY AND NICE AND WAS A HAPPY CHICKEN; I used thighs and drumsticks as they came in the same pack. I’m much more of a thighs and legs girl than a breast girl. £1.75
- Tin of tomatoes, either chopped or whole plum ones (I also threw in a few slightly squishy looking cherry tomatoes from my fridge) £0.34
- 1 big onion or several small ). £0.10
- 3 cloves of garlic, slinely ficed. £0.15
- 400ml of chicken/veg stock £0.10
- Tin of butterbeans/chickepeas/similar – double this if you’re not using chicken £0.29
- Tablespoon of black olives, chopped in half (optional) £0.06
- Half a bag of spinach £0.39
- Handful of fresh parsley and handful of fresh basil £0.25
- Teaspoon and a half each of dried basil and oregano £0.12
- Splash of balsamic vinegar or red wine if you’ve got it, dw if you don’t £0.35
Get your big pan medium hot and add a lil sploosh of oil and let it heat up for a couple of minutes while you season your chicken/chop your onions. Now lay your chicken down in the pan and don’t move it for a while – it should sizzle nicely. When you can see the colour start to come up the side of the chicken joint, flip it over and leave it on the other side for the same amount of time. Add a splash of wine/and or balsamic if using, and then tip in your onions and garlic around the chicken. Stir around for a bit until they start to go opaque and most of the liquid has evaporated – about 6-8 minutes. Now add your stock, dried herbs and your tomatoes, stirring to combine.
Turn up the heat and let that boil, with the lid off, for 5 or so minutes before adding your butterbeans (with all the liquid in the tin). Stir everything round and then turn the heat down to a simmer and let it do its thing with the lid half on for the next 20 minutes. After it’s nicely reduced a bit, taste it and determine if it needs more salt/pepper/freedom. Now stir in your olives, and about 5 minutes before you want to serve it, your spinach. Let that wilt in for a bit. Just before serving, scatter over the basil and parsley. This is Lish with freshly baked bread or over pasta, and you’re more than welcome to serve it with some more veg for extra heathfulness.