Easy Chicken Stew – for people who don’t “cook”

Take 1 whole chicken, place it in a large pot of water until the entire chicken is covered. If desired put in Italian seasoning until it seems right – probably 2 tablespoons.
Put on low boil for 2 to 3 hours. (Go watch a game on TV, read a book, blog, go out, whatever, the time is approximate here. Some people who “cook” say that the longer the chicken cooks the tougher it gets. Good!)
Remove chicken from broth – those of you who don’t “cook”: careful, it’s hot. Remove the organs, neck, all skin and bones and put chicken meat in a bowl – cover and refrigerate. Discard the neck and all skin, fat and bones – don’t give to your dog or your cat. You can give the organs to your cat if you want it to get high cholesterol.
Place large pot with broth in refrigerator for 24 hours. Then remove all fat and grease floating on top of the water. You can use a large spoon and paper towels at the end – get as much fat out as you can. Discard or turn into bio diesel.
Put large pot of broth on stove and simmer. When the broth is simmering, put into the pot
1 white onion, chopped up
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped up
1 10 oz (standard size) package of frozen cut green beans
1 10 oz (standard size) package of frozen chopped spinach
2 small cans of mushrooms – drain then dice if desired
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes – get the ones in chili if you want a little kick
8 ounces of dry chickpeas or 1 16 oz can of garbonzo beans (rinsed)
Couple of stalks of celery, chopped up
Couple of carrots, chopped up
Some baby lima beans, 4 ounces or so, whatever seems good
Some wild (or brown) rice – probably 1/2, whatever seems good
Some garlic if desired
More Italian seasoning if desired
For those of you who don’t “cook”, don’t be intimidated, all of this chopping goes very quickly and is so easy even you can do it. With no help from your mother.
And try other vegetables if you’re so inclined. Experiment! Live it up!
Last, after 30 minutes or so of simmering, take the bowl of chicken meat out of the fridge. Pull apart, slice or chop the chicken meat as desired, then put the meat into the simmering pot if you want the meat for texture and protein, otherwise give the chicken to your dog. Or your cat.
Simmer for an hour or so. Or two. Whatever.
Season as desired. Enjoy. And amaze everyone who thought you couldn’t “cook” including yourself and your dog. If you have a cat, your cat will not be impressed or amazed. Your cat knew you could “cook” all along.
Makes a large pot, enough for 15 large bowls of very hearty stew. Stays good in the refrigerator for 5 or 6 days. Can also be frozen, but warning: Penny, who does cook, says freezing changes the texture of the vegetables.
The result is a very hearty, very fast, microwavable lunch or dinner with lots of vegetables. Your mother would be proud of you. And if your mother is still alive, call her! And thank her for raising such an adventurous spirit.
2 whole chickens at Costco run about $8 (as of February 2009).
The rest of the ingredients cost $4 to $8, which works out to lots-o-meals of very economical hearty stew.
Thanks Penny and other Alexandria, VA, Toppers!
Also see “Make Chicken Stock Like a Pro,” with video.
Cooking is a human universal.” Except for many singles for whom microwaving, not “cooking”, is the norm.
What’s cooking? The evolutionary role of cookery,” The Economist, February 19, 2009