California Central Coast Recipes
Chicken Stew Central Coast Style
Chicken Stew Central Coast Style is our version of a classic dish from the South Pacific Coast Chiapas region of Mexico called Pollo en Estafado Diego de Masariego (Chicken Stew Diego de Masariego Style.) The cuisine from this area of Mexico is not very hot, but very flavorful making use of a wide variety of vegetables and fruit much like Mediterranean cooking. We find this recipe very interesting because the flavors are very similar to some of the classic Ragus from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Perhaps the original recipe came from Bologna via the French interventions in Italy and then Mexico. But then again who's to say, maybe Emilia Romagna was influenced by Chiapas
This stew is SO good! It's a chicken stew that's made with zucchini, onion, potatoes, carrots, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, rosemary and a secret ingredient - Prunes!
The thing to do when you make this, is to make enough for having it twice --the flavor even gets better the second time you have it! And though it takes a few hours to cook to be really good, you can rationalize the prep-time if you spread it out over two meals. Serve this with some crusty bread to slurp up the gravy and a nice salad and you've got a meal worthy of your best friends!
Preparation time: 30 minutesCooking time: 2 hours
8 Chicken Thighs
1 c Unbleached Flour
Salt and Pepper
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large White Onions , peeled and sliced
4 Carrots , peeled and sliced
6 cloves Garlic , peeled and sliced
1-1/2 cups Dry White Wine
3 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock , or broth
1/2 teaspoons Thyme
1/4 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoons Ground Clove
4 Bay Leaves
2 sprigs Rosemary
2 pounds Baby Potatoes , rinsed and scrubbed
3 cups Sliced Zucchini
2 cups Prunes
1 Trim any excess fat off of the chicken thighs. Salt and pepper then lightly flour the chicken thighs with the unbleached flour. Add the extra virgin olive oil to a large heavy bottom stock pot and heat over medium low heat. Add the floured chicken thighs and and cook, turning occasionally until brown all over over, about 15 minutes. Depending upon the size of the pot, you may need to do this in two batches. Be careful not to burn the chicken. The bottom of the stock pot should develop a nice mahogany brown roux-like fond which is important to the flavor and thickening of the stew.
2 Remove the chicken thighs and add the onion and carrots to the pot. Cook until the onion is golden and sweet, scraping the sides of the stock pot down frequently. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the dry white wine and deglaze the the pot, scraping the sides down. Increase the temperature to high and reduce the wine down one third.
3 Add the browned chicken back with the chicken stock, with the thyme, cinnamon, rosemary, clove and bay leaves. Bring the stock to a boil then reduce the cooking heat to low and simmer and cook covered for 60 minutes. If you are preparing the stew ahead of time, this is a good stopping point. You can refrigerate the stew overnight or until you are ready to finish the stew.
4 Forty five minutes before you plan the serve the stew, add the potatoes. Bring the stock back to a simmer and continue to cook. Fifteen minutes before serving, add the zucchini and prunes and continue to cook for 15 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.
5 Serve immediately with crusty bread.
This is slightly sweet fruity stew so a dry "citrusy" Pinot Grigio or Alsatian style Riesling would be a good choice. A light low tannin red like a Pinot Noir would also go very well.