So, it all started on Monday evening. Lisa and I went to the grocery store after work and stocked up on a ton of fruits and veggies and some chicken, both a whole roaster and some boneless & skinless breasts [there was a buy one get one sale!].
We get home, put stuff away, and I turn on the oven in preparation to roast this bird. I am a pro at roasting chickens, y’all, and it’s quite possibly the easiest and most rewarding recipe ever. Whole chicken, couple tablespoons of oil, salt, pepper, half an onion and lemon. You shove the lemon and onion bits up the chicken’s… cavity, and then rub down with oil and salt and pepper. Then I put it in a pan breast-side down [that is important] and roast at 450 for about half an hour. Then I flip it over and roast at 400 until it’s done and golden [165 degrees Fahrenheit].
This is a recipe that has NEVER FAILED ME. The chicken comes out golden and succulent, with crispy, salty skin, and everyone ends up fat and happy.
Well, on Monday night? The oven didn’t heat up. At all. We turned it off, we turned it back on, we tried lighting it manually, nothing. Bupkiss. So, I wrapped the chicken up, called the landlord, and we ate sandwiches and fruit.
Tuesday came and the landlord hadn’t come by, so there was no chicken again. My roommates were at work and class, so I ate another sandwich [ham, mustard, avocado = YUM.] and some ice cream [what, I am a grown-up, I can eat ice cream whenever I want.] and stared mournfully at the chicken while chewing.
Last night: still no landlord, and dammit, I wanted chicken. So I improvized, and oh sweet jesus am I glad I did.
Accidental Chicken Stew
1 medium whole chicken [I can’t remember how much it weighed!]
1/2 medium onion, chopped in half again
1/2 medium onion, sliced into 1/4 inch slivers.
1/2 lemon, also chopped in half
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
curry powder [just keep it around.]8oz sliced mushrooms [I use baby portobellos, but any meaty shroom will do.]
2 Cups chicken broth or stock.
1 tsp flour [Gluten-free flour would work great in this, for you wheat-free folks]
1/2 C milk
1/4 C white wine
Equipment needed: Heavy-bottomed pot with lid. I used my dutch oven, which is one of my most favorite kitchen items.
Remove neck and gizzards from chicken cavity, replace with onion and lemon. Drizzle with olive oil and rub in. Season liberally with salt, pepper, and curry powder.
Store in fridge for 2 days because your oven is broken.*
Heat up a drizzle of olive oil, about 2 tablespoons, in a dutch oven on high heat. Throw in the onions and some curry powder and spread them out to coat the bottom of the pan. Place chicken in and add broth or stock and turn heat to medium. Cover with lid and let it do it’s thing for another half an hour to an hour, until the meat is falling off the bones and it’s reached an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes I throw in a splash of balsamic vinegar. Play with it, have fun.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it and set aside. There will be some crusties stuck to the bottom of the pan, and you want these because they are the most delicious detritus ever. While you’re waiting for the chicken to cool enough to handle, throw in the mushrooms and the white wine and let them stew a bit.
Once they’re soft and lovely, make a slurry* of the flour and milk and add it to thicken the sauce, making sure to scrape off the sides, because that’s a lot of flavor that you don’t want to ignore. Now’s the time to taste it and see if you want some more pepper or curry powder – but wait to salt until later.
Turn the heat down to low and let that hang out while you pick the chicken from the bones. Cut the breasts into pieces and make sure to get the dark meat from the legs. [You don’t want the skin. It’s great while cooking to keep in the moisture, but it will be sort of soggy and gross at this point.]
Add the chicken meat back into the gravy and stir it up. This is where you can add more salt, but chances are you won’t need any. Let it all sit and get hot again together, and you’re done!
*[this step may be omitted if desired…]
** Making a slurry ahead of time instead of adding the flour in alone helps to avoid clumping. I have a special tupperware for this, but you can use a mason jar. Just add the milk and the flour and shake it up until it’s smooth. Easy, peasy.
Et voila! This would be AMAZING over rice, but we ate it with sauteed zucchini and peppers.
I really did just make this up as I went along. As usual, my recipe looks long and involved, but this is basically a one pot dish, and I just like to ramble.
I hope you enjoy it as much as my roommates and I did! <3