I am so easily influenced! Browsing the Food Pornographer‘s food porn (and porny it is) one day, I came across her post on a chicken stew that her partner, Jac, had put together. I instantaneously forgot that it was summer here (and winter down there in Australia, where they reside) and wrote down all the ingredients I’d need to put something like this together. And I managed to put it together even after a late-ish day at work!
This dish only took about 30-40 minutes to put together and results in a most comforting stew of flavourful chicken (do try to get dark thigh meat – so much tastier than breast!), tender carrot lumps, soft potato chunks, and bright green bursting peas. I quite like it when the potato is overcooked enough that the chunks start to break down and the resulting starchy bits thicken the stew naturally. The “Asian-style” derives from the use of Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce and various spices that gently infuse into the stew during the relatively short cooking process. Even though the weather was hot, this stew (I served it on white rice) hit the spot and I never found myself breaking into a sweat over a hot stove – it was all throw it in and stir a bit and then leave to simmer.
Asian-Style Chicken Stew
serves 3 to 4.
1 large onion, chopped roughly
8 chicken thigh fillets, cut into small chunks
2 potatoes (like Maris Piper or Russet), cut into small chunks
2 carrots, cut into small chunks
1 star anise
1 small stick cinnamon
a few cloves (I left these out as I couldn’t find mine!)
500 mL water or chicken stock
a few handfuls frozen peas
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsps cornstarch
Heat a large, deep saute pan over medium heat, add a tablespoon or two of sunflower oil and then saute the onions until softened. Add the chicken and cook until you don’t see anymore raw bits. (Some chopped garlic would be good at this stage too.) Deglaze the pan with a good slug of Shaoxing wine and let the alcohol bubble away. Toss in the potatoes, carrots, star anise, cinnamon, and cloves (if using) and stir through.
Pour in about 500 mL of water or chicken stock (or a mixture of both). Season with soy sauce and oyster sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until all the vegetables are quite soft – about 20 minutes. Add the frozen peas and continue simmering until they too are soft – another 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If needed, thicken with some cornstarch slurry – 2 tsps cornstarch mixed with cold water.
Eat on top of white rice or with some bread on the side.