As a novice cook, I often turned to Jamie Oliver’s book, Jamie’s Food Revolution. One of my favorite recipes is his “Basic Stew Recipe,” in which he gives multiple options for meat-and-booze combinations to make a variety of different stews. This is followed by numerous recipes for different stew toppings such as dumplings, pastry, and potatoes. Over the years, I’ve altered this recipe to suit my tastes and it has become a family favorite. I added parsnips and mushrooms to the vegetable mixture—the parsnips lend a sweet, nutmeg-like flavor and the mushrooms provide a lovely earthy note. Rather than make a topping, I love serving it over buttered egg noodles. Sometimes, when I’m not in the mood for pasta, I cut up baby red or Yukon gold potatoes and toss them in instead. The beauty of stews is you can add just about anything you like. If you are a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is a great place to start.
One thing that you should keep in mind—use a wine that you like. The cooking process will intensify the flavor. If you use something you don’t enjoy drinking, you won’t enjoy eating it either.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 medium parsnips, roughly chopped
2 medium onions, diced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned sliced
3 sprigs of fresh thyme OR 1 tsp dried thyme
1 heaping Tbsp all-purpose flour
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 cups white wine
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 oz Egg noodles
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp minced parsley, optional
1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrots, parsnips, onions, mushrooms, and thyme to the pot. Sauté the vegetables until softened, about 10 minutes.
2. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. Next add the chicken to the pot and stir it in.
3. Pour the tomatoes with their juices and the wine into the Dutch oven, followed by 1-tsp kosher salt and 1/2-tsp freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients together, then bring the mixture to a boil. If you are adding potatoes to the stew, add them with the tomatoes and wine.
4. Once the stew comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low. Place the lid ajar on the Dutch oven and allow the stew to simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours.
5. Meanwhile, during the last half hour, prepare the buttered noodles. Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles and place them in a large serving bowl. Immediately add the butter and toss it with the noodles. As the butter comes in contact with the hot noodles, it will melt and coat them. Season the noodles with salt and pepper to taste.
6. To serve, make a bed of buttered noodles on each plate. Top the noodles with the hot stew. Garnish with minced parsley and serve immediately.
Oliver, Jamie. Jamie’s Food Revolution. New York: Hyperion, 2008. Page 180.