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What Is Chicken Stew?

By Mary Ellen Popolo
Updated May 17, 2024
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Chicken stew is a rich and hearty meal that has a broth base and is filled with pieces of chicken and assorted vegetables. Rice, potatoes, or pasta can also be found in most stews. Stew is considered a one-pot meal as only one pot is used to cook it from start to finish. It can be cooked for several hours on the stove or in a slow cooker.

Many people wonder what the difference is between soup and stew. Although they are very similar, stew is usually richer and thicker and has more ingredients than soup. Likewise, soup is often served before a meal, but due to its heartiness, stew is usually the main part of the meal.

Canned stews are readily available in grocery stores and only require heating before they can be eaten and enjoyed. Homemade chicken stew, however, uses fresh ingredients which can be customized according to the cook's own likes and dislikes and is fairly simple to make. The downside to homemade stews is that they must be cooked for several hours in order for the chicken to be properly cooked and for all of the flavors to blend.

There are many different methods of making chicken stew, and a number of different recipes are available in cookbooks and online. The basic method is to add chicken, seasonings, and vegetables to water, chicken broth or stock and then to heat until the chicken has been thoroughly cooked. The chicken is then removed, de-boned, and shredded or cut into chunks and returned to the broth. Additional vegetables are then added and the stew continues to cook until the flavors of all of the ingredients have had time to combine.

Celery, carrots, and onions are staples in most stews and are usually added at the beginning of the cooking process. Other vegetables often found in stew are peas, corn, green beans, and mushrooms. Any vegetable can be put in the stew according to preference. Part of what makes chicken stew a hearty meal is that, in addition to the chicken and vegetables, stew generally has some sort of starch in it. Potatoes, rice, and small-size pasta are some of the most common, but beans are also sometimes used.

Chicken stew can be served with salad, bread, or crackers. Croutons and shredded or grated cheese are other possible accompaniments. A bread bowl is a unique way of serving stew as the diner can eat the bowl along with the stew.

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Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Jul 25, 2014

@Scrbblchick -- Now *that* sounds like chicken stew! Sounds like the recipe our church uses when we have a chicken stew sale in the fall. It's wondrous stuff! There is always someone selling chicken stew in the fall of the year. I love the stuff. I can eat it by the quart. I've had all I could hold, but *never* all I wanted.

Chicken stew can be a little pricey to make, but is it ever worth the effort! I like it with cornbread, but this is one stew I really prefer with saltine crackers. There's something about the way the crackers combine with the stew that is delicious.

I always put some butter in it at the end of the cooking time, too. Makes it extra rich.

By Scrbblchick — On Jul 24, 2014

And then, there's Courtland Chicken Stew, which bears little resemblance to any of the pictures with this article. That recipe starts with a cooked chicken, potatoes, onions, canned tomatoes, corn and spices.

You boil a whole chicken until done, remove it, debone it and shred the meat. Strain the broth and add diced potatoes. I saute my onions separately and then add them.

When the potatoes are done, add tomatoes, corn, garlic, salt and pepper, and any other seasonings you like. Add chicken back to the pot. Simmer, covered for about 45 minutes. Add about two tablespoons of real butter and stir it in, along with some instant potatoes if you want a thicker stew. Simmer about 15 more minutes and serve. You can't go wrong with it.

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