Well, my husband still is pretty uncomfortable from getting his wisdom teeth out, and still isn’t able to chew too much. And he’s still kind of miserable and in serious need for some comfort food. (You have no idea.) So for dinner I made this.
It’s something I’ve made for years, especially on cold days. It’s warm and filling and satisfying, and my kids scarf it down. It really is the epitome of comfort food!
The directions for this sound kind of fussy, but it’s really not bad. There’s just a lot of prep in cooking the chicken and chopping veggies, and then a busy 5 minutes while you make the sauce. But it’s really pretty easy. Don’t be intimidated!
About 3-5 hours before dinnertime, get some bone-in chicken in a pot of water and start it simmering. I had this great organic, pastured, stewing chicken that I bought from my CSA, so that’s what I used. But if you have split chicken breasts or some other cut, you can use that as well. Just make sure that it has bone and skin on it, because that’s what makes the nutrition and flavor!
Salt and pepper the water, and throw in a pinch of saffron threads along with half an onion. If you can’t find saffron threads, they’re not essential, but they’re very nice!
Cover the pot and let it simmer for at least 3 hours.
When it’s done, remove the chicken onto a plate and remove the meat from the bones. It will just fall right off, and if it’s cool enough you can just take it off with your fingers. Cut the meat into small pieces, and put aside.
Keep the broth in the pot in a place that’s convenient for you to get to while you’re cooking.
Next, peel and cut about 10 large potatoes into pieces that are roughly the same size, put them in a pot, and then cover them with cold water and put the pot on the stove. Don’t turn the stove on yet – they’re just waiting for you to be ready!
After the potatoes are done, chop up about 3 large carrots into small pieces and one large onion, and mince three cloves of garlic. Put them in another large pot or dutch oven along with 6 Tbsp of butter.
Okay, now everything is prepared and you’re ready to start!
Turn the heat on high for the potatoes and medium high for the carrots and onions. You can just leave the potatoes to boil, but you’ll want to watch the veggies. Stir it around until the butter has melted and keep an eye on it. Let it cook for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are mostly soft.
This next part goes really quickly, so you’ll want to have all your ingredients ready before you start! Get your flour in a little bowl ready to put in, and get a liquid measuring cup handy. Your broth should still be in a pot by the stove waiting for you.
Dump in 9 Tbsp of whole grain spelt flour, mixing quickly and continuously the whole time. There are probably other flours/starches that you could use besides spelt, but I’m not familiar enough with non-grain options to feel comfortable with them yet in something like this. I decided to use spelt because it’s still a grain so I thought I could pretty well predict the way it would behave!
Stir and cook for about a minute. It will be thick and gooey.
Quickly add in some of the hot broth and stir vigorously. It will be pretty thick. Add in the rest of the liquid, stirring the whole time, until you’ve put in 5 cups of the broth and 1 cup of whole milk/cream.
Stir in the spices – 1/2 tsp each of ground sage, ground thyme, and marjoram, and salt and pepper to taste. Dump in your chopped chicken and about a cup of frozen peas. Stir it all together and turn the heat down very low. Let it cook gently. Go back and stir it every once in a while to make sure nothing’s sticking to the bottom of the pot.
At this point, your potatoes should be done. Take a spoon and test it – if the spoon goes through one of the potatoes easily, then it’s done.
My method of mashed potatoes doesn’t really follow a recipe. It’s more of a “dump a bunch of things in a pot and see how it works out” thing. But it’s really simple.
Dump out most of the liquid into the sink. I usually just tip the pot against the side of the sink, letting most of the liquid come out while keeping the potatoes in the pot. Leave a bit of liquid in the bottom of the pot.
Put the pot on a pot holder on the counter and put in about 3 Tbsp of butter and a good amount of salt and pepper.
Use a mixer or a potato masher to puree the potatoes. It’ll probably seem dry, so splash in a bit of milk. Mix some more and if it’s still dry splash in a little more milk. Sorry I don’t have more exact amounts, but it really is not an exact science since all potatoes are different. Be careful not to put in too much milk because then it will get runny – just put in a bit at a time until it’s the consistency you like.
Taste for salt and pepper and add more if necessary.
Now everything’s done! Put some mashed potatoes on a plate, and scoop some creamed chicken on top. It’s so delicious, so homey, filling, and comforting. It’s the perfect meal for a cold or rainy day. Or for when your husband is miserable from getting his wisdom teeth out. Or when you just want some comfort food. Or all of the above.
- 1 stewing chicken, or 2-3 lbs of bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
- pinch of saffron threads (optional)
- half an onion
- 3-4 large carrots, chopped into small pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 9 Tbsp whole grain spelt (can use whole wheat if you want. If all you have on hand is white flour, use 7 Tbsp)
- 5 cups broth (from cooking the chicken)
- 1 cup whole milk or cream
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ tsp ground sage
- ½ tsp ground thyme
- ½ tsp marjoram
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mashed Potatoes - about 10 potatoes, 3 Tbsp butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste
- Put the chicken, saffron, and half an onion in a large stock pot with at least 6 cups of water. Simmer, covered, for one to three hours.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and take the meat off the bones. It should fall right off. Dice the chicken and put aside for later.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into similar sized chunks. Put them in a pot of cold water and place on the stove.
- Dice the carrots and onion and mince the garlic and put them in a large pot or dutch oven with the 6Tbsp butter. Place the pot on the stove.
- Turn on the heat to high for the potatoes and let them cook while you make the sauce.
- Cook the carrots and onions in the butter, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are soft - about 5-10 minutes depending on how small you chopped them.
- Add the flour and stir vigorously for about a minute. Then stir in 5 cups of the broth from the cooked chicken, and the milk or cream. (NOTE: Freeze any extra broth for use another day!)
- Add the spices, chopped chicken, and peas and turn down heat to low. Let the sauce simmer while you wait for the potatoes to cook.
- When the potatoes are soft enough to mash, take them from the heat and drain the water. (It's okay to have some water left at the bottom of the pot.)
- Add the 3Tbsp of butter and salt and pepper to the potatoes. Then, using a mixer or potato masher, mash the potatoes until they're smooth. Add milk to reach the desired consistency - about ¼ cup, but the amount will vary.
- Serve the creamed chicken on plates on top of the mashed potatoes.
- (This is also good over biscuits! You can also use the same creamed chicken to make a pot pie.)
(This post is part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday!)