Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Dec 6, 2011

Provençal Chicken Stew

Libations used: 1/2 cup red wine
Libations left over: pretty much the whole bottle, so pour yourself a glass while this stew simmers.
The Santa Anas have been blowing through Southern California, chilling me to the bone and tempting a cold.  Instead of just regular chicken soup or stew, of course I had to find a way to make it gourmet and lush.  This Provençal Chicken Stew from Gourmet's Fresh is in the fall section, but our seasons are weird and blend in over here, so I didn't pay attention to that.  Plus, the bright green and reds from the zucchini, red peppers and olives gives it a holiday look, right?  Mom would be proud because I got plenty of fresh veggies, and make sure you cook them so they still have some nice color and slight firmness.  Since it's a French stew, there will undoubtedly be wine...and butter.  Embrace it, because the veggies offset all of that, right?  Gourmet recommends serving this with some Lemon & Thyme Couscous—just toss in about  1 Tbs of fresh chopped thyme and 1 tsp of freshly grated lemon zest.  I'll be eating this all week, because "baby, it's cold outside."

Provençal Chicken Stew - serves 6-8
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
  • 12 chicken pieces 
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine - I used cabernet sauvignon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Niçoise olives - I had a mixture of olives so just used whatever I had left
  • Fresh lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

- Chop onion and finely chop garlic.
- Cut bell peppers into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Cut zucchini into 1 inch slices and then cut in half.
- Drain canned tomatoes and chop.
- Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.
- In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking.
- Brown chicken in batches and transfer them to a large bowl.
- Pour off all but 1 Tbs of fat from dutch oven.
- In remaining fat, cook the onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring until softened.
- Add wine and deglaze dutch oven by scraping up any brown bits from the chicken.
- Stir in water, broth, tomatoes and chicken.
- Simmer mixture, covered, until any chicken breasts are just cooked through (about 18 min).
- Transfer the breast halves to a large bowl.
- Continue letting the mixture simmer, covered, until thighs, wings and drumsticks are cooked through (about 10-12 min).
- Transfer the rest of the chicken to your large bowl.
- Add peppers and zucchini to sauce and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender (about 8-10 min).
- With a slotted spoon, transfer all the veggies to another large bowl.
- Boil the sauce until it's reduced to about 4 cups.
- While sauce is boiling, combine butter and flour in a small bowl using your fingertips.
- Whisk butter mixture into the sauce a little at a time into the reduced sauce.
- Simmer and whisk until the sauce slightly thickens (about 2 min).
- Add chicken back into the dutch oven and stir in olives, veggies, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
- Serve chicken stew over couscous.