Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chicken and Leek Stew

Gift giving can be a chore for anyone, but when you have a family member who seems to have everything and is very particular about their taste in clothing and accessories it can feel like downright hell trying to find them something special. No matter how easygoing I think I am, I seem to be that family member who everyone has trouble buying for. For the last few gift-giving occasions my family finally caught on that any food-related gift is sure to put a big ol' smile on my face! So for Christmas this year my uncle Ronnie, aunt Nancy, and my cousins Kim and Nick got me what turned out to be one of my favourite gifts all year, a subscription to Food & Wine Magazine. Nice work fam! You got me the gift that keeps on giving, lighting up my face every month as each new issue arrives! I'm not the only one benefitting from this new subscription, as my oh-so-very-lucky parents get to try out all the fantastic sounding recipes published within the magazine.

The March issue of Food & Wine has been one of my favoruites so far (although I've only read 3 issues now). Filled with tons of tasty recipes, I had to keep a pen on hand to draw asterisks on just about every recipe within the issue. One that stood out as a simple and tasty weeknight dish was Jamie Oliver's recipe for his Simplest Chicken-and-Leek Stew. I love recipes that are big on flavour, short on time, are healthy, yet still leave you feeling comforted and satisfied. Check, check, check, check, this recipe has fits just that criteria! It took next to no time to make, was crazy simple, had big and familair flavours, and didn't require much grocery shopping. This stew is really more of a hearty sauce or topping to rice, but it does have that same comforting and warming effect that you get from a slow-cooked stew. Just reading the recipe, I felt like it could use something else to brighten up the flavour and add another dimension to the dish, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a handful of sweet green peas did just the trick.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, pureed
2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms (preferably cremini), thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces
flour, for dusting
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 tbsp chopped thyme
about 3/4 cup frozen green peas
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tsp dijon mustad
1 tsp lemon juice
4 servings of steamed brown rice

1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the garlic and leeks and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes. Scrape the leeks and mushrooms onto a plate or bowl, cover with aluminum foil.

2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dust lightly with flour, shaking off any excess. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in the same skillet used for the mushrooms and leeks. Add the chicken and cook over medium heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken stock and thyme and simmer over medium 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 medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken, leeks, and mushrooms to the skillet. Add the frozen peas 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. Squeeze in the lemon and stir in. Remove from heat and serve on top of steamed brown rice. Season with salt and pepper.

Listening To:
Adele - Someone Like You

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