During the summer I really love to can and preserve all that I can from our harvests. I want to can gallons and gallons and gallons and gallons of things! Â However I’m always stingy to use it and I try to ration it out so we have enough to get us through until next season. Anytime Dave reaches for a can of pasta sauce I’m always quick to say “No!! I’m saving that! Let’s make something else tonight!” He replies, “What are you saving it for?” “I don’t know.. I just am!” However, when company comes over I’m popping pickled peppers and dilly beans like rapper with champagne in a strip club…or something, whatever. I know, I don’t get it either. But there’s a big pile of snow outside and no sight of above freezing temperatures for a while. So that means I want some warm, hearty homemade soup. And I figured that this would be the perfect time to pop open some of the cans I put up to treat myself to a taste of summer in this hearty Tomato Pepper Chicken Stew.
This recipe called for two 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes, however I didn’t make any diced tomatoes. I’ll have to remind myself to do that this year! But I did can some great Italian stewed tomatoes and a tomato sauce base. I’ll be using both of those as a substitute for store bought diced tomatoes. And a few weeks ago I made homemade chicken soup from one of our chickens and froze some broth, and I’ll be using that in this recipe as well.
Here’s What You Need:
- 3 lbs chicken thighs or 4 whole chicken legs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- A mess of carrots, chopped or sliced (I used about 5 carrots)
- A mess of celery, chopped or sliced (I used about 1 whole stalk)
- 1 cup white wine (and a bottle of drinking wine, for yourself)
- 3 sprigs of thyme or a couple good pinches of dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
- Your tomatoes (again, I used 1 pint of stewed tomatoes and 1 pint of tomato sauce or you can use 1 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
First, season the chicken all generous like with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Then plop in your chicken and brown on both sides. After it’s browned, remove the chicken and set aside on a plate. Drain the fat from the pot, leaving about 2 tablespoons of oil and lower the heat to medium-low.
Now it’s time to add in the Holy Trinity of soups/stews. Add in the onion and garlic and heat until transparent. Then add your carrots and celery. Ok, so it’s not a trinity.. it’s like a trinity plus a sidekick. Heat for 2-3 minutes before adding in the wine. Let it cook down until about half of the wine has evaporated. While you’re waiting, open the bottle of “me-time” wine and start getting all lit up, because it’s Tuesday right!
Add in the thyme, bay leaves, pepper, tomatoes and chicken broth. Place the chicken thighs back in the pot. Bring to a boil then drop it back down to a simmer.
Let that puppy simmer for about 40 minutes or until the chicken is tender. You might have to skim some fat off the top of the broth every once in a while. But if you’re like me and don’t really care.. theeeeen don’t. At this point, you can take the stew off the stove and throw it in the fridge and reheat it the next day. This makes removing the fat a lot easier. It makes a great make-a-head stew! If not, stir in the balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper and serve.
There you go! A hearty winter stew, but with a taste of summer. What a great way to use your homemade canned tomatoes and homemade chicken broth! Way to go putting your big ol’ cans to good use! HIgh five!