There are two distinctive herbs in this recipe - lovage and chervil, commonly used in German cooking. In Seattle, you can find chervil regularly at Whole Foods. It has a very delicate green-anise flavor. Lovage you can sometimes find as part of a prepackaged "seafood mix" of herbs - it looks like large Italian parsley leaves, but tastes like celery leaves with a bizarre twist. Substitute with celery leaves only if you can't find lovage - it is worth it. If you live in Seattle and know Pat and Tanya, feel free to ask for some - we have it growing in our backyard. It loves the climate here.
Richly stewed chicken thighs
makes 2 healthy servings
2 organic chicken thighs, skins included (remove later, if desired)
1/4 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2-3 Tbl vegetable oil
2 Tbl flour
2 cups COLD chicken stock
1 large carrot, sliced
1 small bundle (10-15 stems) fresh chervil, 4 sprigs Italian parsley, and 2 sprigs fresh French thyme
1 Tbl lovage leaflets, whole
1/2 small McIntosh apple, cored and coarsely grated (or some other sweet, flavorful apple such as Gala)
2 small leeks, sliced 1/2" thick
2 tsp salted butter
1 tsp salt
- Combine the flour, salt and pepper, and put onto a large plate.
- Dredge the chicken in the flour, coating both sides well.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot.
- Brown the chicken, starting with skin side down, about 5 minutes on each side.
- Remove the chicken to a plate, and drain oil in pan to 2 Tbl.
- Return pan to medium heat, and sprinkle 2 Tbl flour over hot oil.
- Stir over medium heat with a spatula or wooden spoon, cooking just until the flour is cooked, just under 5 minutes or so. The roux should be barely a light tan, but no darker.
- Add the stock, a little at a time, whisking completely between each addition.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and add carrots, herbs, and apple.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, return chicken to the stew, and cover loosely. Turn chicken once during cooking.
- While the chicken simmers, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat.
- When hot, melt butter in the pan. After foam subsides, saute leeks until just turning brown, about 7 minutes. (Do not crowd the pan - if you have too many to fit in one layer, do this in two batches. The leeks should be caramelized in butter, not steamed.)
- Add leeks to the stew as soon as they are done.
- Continue cooking chicken until just barely done, about 20-30 minutes. Near the end of cooking, add salt, and adjust seasonings as needed. If the sauce needs more body, add 1 tsp Dijon mustard.