Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken and Leek "Stew"

When it became clear on New Year's Day that T's tiptoe into our family dinner of ribs, mac and cheese, black-eyed peas, and collards had been a very bad idea, I set out to make him something he could keep down: the most boring soup possible. You guys have been following my flavor palette for a while now, so you know that under-seasoned is not the way I typically roll. But the soup worked: turkey, white rice, and the smallest hint of celery and onion in the broth. Did you just fall asleep reading that description? Because I almost did.

A few days later, I'm not remembering that boring albeit digestible soup, but a dish I discovered last winter in Food & Wine instead. We made it on a rushed weeknight when it was cold and rainy, and made it again and again throughout the spring. I like to think of it as updated comfort food, fit for both quick dinners and sick loved ones. It would've worked perfectly in place of that boring soup - and been a lot less boring to eat, too.

This dish is described as a "stew," but there's not much broth at all, so adjust accordingly if you want something more traditional. Enjoy... in sickness and in health.

Simplest Chicken and Leek Stew
Adapted from Jamie Oliver

(photo credit: Food and Wine)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream 
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
  1. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes. Scrape the leeks and mushrooms onto a plate.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and lightly dust with flour, shaking off any excess. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the chicken and cook over moderate heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken stock and thyme and simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the plate with the vegetables.
  3. Simmer the stock over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken, leeks and mushrooms to the skillet and simmer over low heat until warmed through, about 1 minute.
  4. In a small bowl, blend the sour cream with the mustard and stir into the stew. Remove the skillet from the heat. Season the stew with salt and pepper and serve.
  5. Serve With Steamed rice.


  1. This sounds absolutely delicious. Leeks are kind of underrated, IMO, and have more of a flavor impact than one might expect. I make a Chinese leek and chicken dish, it's yummy. This would be a nice twist. Happy New Year to you and T. Glad he is feeling better, here's to many midnights, or their moral equivalents.

  2. I agree with LPC, leeks are totally underrated. I LOVE THEM. I will add this to my list of things to make if I ever make anything!


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