5 Ways to Make a Faster Chicken Stew

Brazilian Chicken Stew © Wendell T. Webber
By Kristin Donnelly Posted March 22, 2015

Compared with beef and other meaty stews, chicken stews cook pretty quickly. To make a chicken stew that’s fast enough for a weeknight, try these tips. 

Compared with beef and other meaty stews, chicken stews cook pretty quickly. To make a chicken stew that’s fast enough for a weeknight, try these tips. 

1. Use boneless pieces 
Bones keep the meat moist, but they slow down the cooking. If you’re cooking on a weeknight, start with skinless, boneless breasts or thighs, which should each cook in 20 minutes or less. (To make the process go even faster, cut them into small pieces first). 

2. Use pre-prepped vegetables
Chopped butternut squash, pre-peeled garlic or shallots, packaged cooked beets and washed-and-chopped kale leaves all let you get chicken stew to the table faster. 

3. Pare back the ingredient list
Instead of adding three vegetables and five spices, choose one of each. Or look for single ingredients that combine many flavors, like curry pastes. 

4. Add an umami-rich ingredient
If you can’t develop a stew’s flavor from a long cooking time, add tomato paste, miso or fish sauce, choosing your ingredient based on the other ones in the stew. If you’re adding tomato paste, toast it for a minute after you sweat your onions; it will taste even more rich.

5. Pull out the pressure cooker
This old school cooking device has had a bit of a resurgence lately. It cuts the cooking time of stews and braises by at least half and often more. 

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: Light Stews
Terrific Chicken Recipes
Fast and Healthy Chicken Recipes

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