Spring Chicken Stew

This Tuscan-inspired chicken stew is one of very favourites. It has carvolo nero (tuscan kale) and thyme from the garden, lemon zest, white wine and cannellini beans… I like it because it cooks the kale thoroughly (so you can digest all it’s wonderful dark leafy nutrients more easily) and that I can make it from a whole bird – which happens to be our beautiful pastured raised chicken no less! So I have the whole bird in front of me. With clean hands and butcher scissors I dislocate and cut off the whole legs + thighs and the wings –  I will use those four pieces in the stew. I then cut away the breast meat and freeze it for later. The leftover carcass I pop into a large stock pot with vegetable offcuts (you will add more as you prepare the stew) and most importantly a “bouquet garni” a bundle of aromatic herbs – from my garden; bay leaves, oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley stalks. I let the stock simmer on a low heat for a few hours.
Now to prepare this glorious stew, you will need:
x2 chicken legs + thighs (bones in)
x2 chicken wings
1 tablespoon butter
1 brown onion, chopped finely
2 large yellow carrots, sliced in rounds
bunch of tuscan kale, carvolo nero
zest of one lemon, unwaxed
1 cup dry wine wine
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (may need more if it gets too dry)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup of cooked cannellini beans (if using tinned – drain and rinse thoroughly)
seas salt + cracked pepper to taste
(for serving – pure pouring cream)
In a heavy bottomed pot melt butter and gently sauté onions. Once the onions are soft and translucent stir in carrots and cook a further five minutes. Add chicken pieces (four in total) and brown each side with tongs. Pour in wine, stock, chopped kale, lemon zest and thyme. Let simmer on a low heat for 1 – 1.5 hours. Add beans and cook a further 30 minutes on a low heat. Season to taste. Serve on it’s own with fresh bread or with potatoes – I like to add a splash of fresh cream over the top before eating.
And so with one whole chicken I can get numerous meals; the stew lasts us two dinners, the stock can be used throughout the week in other dishes or on it’s own, and the breast meat is in the freezer for another meal or two. And that my friends is why you actually save money when you buy a whole chicken, bones and all – and why you can afford a premium, pastured raised, beyond organic free range chicken!