Since I left the cold winters of Northeast Ohio, I've become quite the cold weather wimp. It's almost hard to believe that I survived (and even enjoyed) 22 winters in the snow and ice. It really wasn't until Ben and I moved away to the south and then move BACK to Pennsylvania that we really appreciated the mild winters in the south.
On more than one occasion when we were in PA, Ben would shovel himself out of the driveway to go to work in the morning and before he left to come home in the evening, he would call me to tell me he was on his way home so that I could start shoveling a path so that he could get back in the driveway. Ahhh the joys of snow.
The kids loved the snow of course because it provided hours of entertainment and fun. I became an expert at getting the kids dressed in their winter gear. Hats, gloves, scarves, boots, jackets, snow pants - my job was to keep track of them all and to get them on the right child as quickly as possible because inevitably one of them would ask to go to the bathroom as soon as I zipped the last zipper.
I really don't miss bundling up 2 kids and myself to head to the grocery store in the middle of February. What I do miss is seeing them come in the house with rosy cheeks and cold noses and asking for a warm mug of hot chocolate.
Nothing warms you from the inside out like hot chocolate or a bowl of nice hot soup. I found this recipe for chicken stew in my Cook's Illustrated magazine and it is the perfect winter dinner. It's warm and creamy and hearty and rich and most of all - delicious. It will definitely keep you warm this winter.
I made a few modifications to the original recipe. This is the recipe with my changes.
2 pounds chicken breasts
1/4 pound pancetta, diced
1 pound chicken wings
1 onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
3 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1 pound quartered red potatoes
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
2 Tablespoon fresh parsley
Arrange chicken breasts on a foil lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 350 oven for 30-40 minutes.
Cook pancetta in a dutch oven until fat renders.
Add chicken wings and cook until browned on all sides.
Transfer wings and pancetta to a bowl.
Add onion, celery, garlic, anchovy paste and thyme to pot and cook 2-4 minutes.
Increase heat to high. Stir in 1 cup broth, wine and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Cook until liquid evaporates and vegetables begin to sizzle.
Add butter and stir to melt.
Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir to combine.
Whisk in 4 cups of broth until smooth. Stir in wings, pancetta, potatoes and carrots. Bring to a simmer.
Transfer to oven and cook uncovered for 75 minutes at 325.
Scrape down sides of bowl. Remove wings. Dice chicken breasts and add to stew.
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh parsley.
Warmth in a bowl.