Featuring stewing hens, this pauper’s chicken stew recipe is economical, healthy, and delicious comfort food! Tender chicken, potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions simmered in a homemade chicken broth. This recipe is enough to feed a crowd or to enjoy for lunch all week long.
I love making this chicken stew because you don’t have to have homemade bone broth already on hand. The chicken creates the broth as it cooks!
And unlike these amazing blended soups, sometimes you need a chunky stew that you can stand a fork in!
Featuring Locally Sourced Ingredients
Knowing that I’m a sucker for locally raised meat, our local farm gives me a call when they’re processing older (but of course, healthy) birds.
As long as I stew these birds long and low, they turn out tender and delicious.
Really, a good deal, no matter how you look at it! So, if you think you can’t afford the higher price of locally raised poultry, consider asking around for stewing hens.
Need help finding quality poultry in your area? Here are great starter questions to ask local farmers about their chickens and eggs!
How To Make Chicken Stew
As I shared, what I love most about this recipe is that the long cooking time makes an otherwise tough chicken so tender and flavorful. Because you add the chicken back into the soup once all the flavors have melded, it absorbs that delicious broth, enhancing the flavor even more.
If you don’t have an entire stewing hen, you could also use chicken thigh, chicken breast, legs and/or wings. Basically, whatever you can get your hands on at a great deal will work just fine.
The great thing about this recipe is there is only a bit of hands-on time and prep work. Otherwise, the stew just sits on your stove and simmers all day long.
It’s a fantastic recipe for chilly fall, winter, or spring days when a little extra heat in the house is welcomed.
Easy steps to a wonderful chicken stew:
- Simmer chicken in water and seasonings to cook the chicken and create a rich and flavorful broth.
- Remove chicken and cook veggies in the broth until tender (most any veggies work well and this is a great way to “clean out the fridge”).
- Add chicken back in, season to taste, and serve!
Pretty simple, right?
You could even add some raw cream (or coconut cream for a dairy-free option) at the end to make it just a little bit creamy.
How To Thicken Chicken Stew
If you like your soup a little thicker there are a couple of options to obtain a thicker consistency:
- The first would be to add extra potatoes. Once the potatoes are soft, scoop about 1/3 of them out along with a couple of cups of broth. Using an immersion blender, blend until creamy and smooth then stir back into the soup to thicken.
- Another option is to create a slurry by removing about a cup of broth and whisking in 2 tablespoons of flour until no lumps remain. Then, stir the slurry back into the soup and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes to allow it to thicken.
- Alternatively, you could whisk together some cornstarch and cold water, then drizzle this into the soup, allowing it to simmer for a couple of minutes to thicken.
- For a gluten-free option, whisk together a few tablespoons of arrowroot powder and cold water. Drizzle this into the soup, whisking, and bring it almost to a simmer, until it thickens. Don’t let it boil.
- And finally, instead of cooking your onions and celery in the broth, you could sauté them in some butter or oil beforehand, then whisk in a couple tablespoons of flour, continually stirring for a couple minutes to thicken and create a roux. Once this is added to the broth and simmered it will help thicken the soup.
Ultimately, the flour options will freeze better (if that’s your plan), so choose according to dietary restrictions, or what you plan to do with leftovers.
Can You Freeze Chicken Stew?
Absolutely! This chicken stew recipe freezes very well.
And because it makes such a large batch, that’s exactly what we do with the leftovers (unless we happen to be in an extra soup-y mood!). If you’re going to freeze your stew and you like a thicker consistency, be sure to thicken it with flour as that lends better to freezing and defrosting.
Alternatively, if you can’t thicken your stew with flour, you could take out what you want to freeze before thickening, then thicken with cornstarch when you reheat later.
If you want to freeze in glass jars, be sure to let your soup cool completely, then fill the jar no higher than the shoulder of the jar to allow for expansion.
If you freeze in plastic bags, it’s helpful to lay them flat while freezing because they’ll store well and also defrost very quickly with cool water run over the bag.
Pauper’s Chicken Stew
Featuring stewing hens, this pauper's chicken stew recipe is economical, healthy and delicious comfort food! Tender chicken, homemade chicken broth and vegetables that are tender and vibrant.
- 1 stewing hen local, natural
- 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 to 1 gallon pure water or to cover
- 2 inches ginger root fresh
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 12 small red potatoes scrubbed and halved (or quartered if medium size)
- sea salt to taste
- ground pepper to taste
- ground cumin to taste, I use about 1-1/2 tablespoons in 6 quarts of soup
- ground turmeric to taste, I use 2 to 3 teaspoons in 6 quarts of soup
Rinse the stewing hen and put it in a 9 quart or larger pot.
Add the neck, feet or any other chicken parts, to impart additional flavor and nutrition to the broth.
Add the apple cider vinegar, and then water to cover the chicken and fill at least three-quarters of the pot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat a simmer.
Cover and let simmer for three to four hours, to tenderize the chicken and create a great broth.
The chicken is done when the legs are falling off the carcass and the meat is tender.
Turn the heat down to low.
Remove the chicken to a bowl.
Let it cool off for about 15 minutes to a half hour.
Remove the ginger and any other chicken parts.
Discard the ginger, but keep the chicken parts to make more stock with the chicken bones.
Cover the pot.
While the chicken is cooling, saute the onions and garlic in the coconut oil, until softened.
Add to the pot of broth, along with potatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric.
Raise heat and allow the soup to come to a simmer again.
Cover while simmering, until most of the vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, separate the chicken meat from the bones.
Chop the meat to make bite-sized pieces, then add them to the soup, too, to simmer and absorb flavors while the potatoes and carrots finish cooking.
Keep the bones to make stock later.
The soup is done when the potatoes and large chunks of carrot are tender, which is usually about twenty minutes to a half-hour after adding them.
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste - serve and enjoy!
- Pauper's Chicken Stew is extremely versatile. Use whatever veggies you may have on hand (carrots, celery, beets, parsnips, rutabegas, sweet potatoes and many other root vegetables work well in this stew).
- For additional creaminess, add a splash of raw cream (or coconut cream for dairy-free) to each bowl after serving.
- Thicken the stew with a flour and broth or cornstarch and water slurry.
- Or, thicken the stew by removing some of the potatoes and broth, blending together and adding back to the stew.
- Use brightly colored veggies and garnish with fresh herbs to brighten up the stew and create a beautiful presentation.
Other Soup Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Chicken Pot Pie Soup (Stove Top, Crock Pot, Instant Pot)
- Lemon Chicken Soup With Foraged Spring Veggies
- Healthy Fava Bean Soup With Italian Sausage, Kale & Bacon
- Instant Pot Tomato Basil Soup
- Tom Kha Gai: A Nourishing Thai Broth-Based Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Sage Leaves
Do you have a favorite chicken stew recipe? Share it with me in the comments below!
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