Low-carb hearty chicken and vegetable stew

It is pretty gloomy here what with ice, snow and lockdown. I feel the need for warming and comforting meals. What I don’t want is to emerge into spring (hopefully) with an additional stone in weight round my middle so I’m focussing on low carb, sugar-free and healthy fats. This recipe meets my needs. I like simple recipes and preferably one-pan dishes. At first read it seemed complex – two pans for a stew! However, it was relatively easy. I swapped out courgettes for chestnut mushrooms. The thickener for the stew is blended cauliflower which is easy if you have an immersion blender. Mine broke a while ago and I used a potato masher so its not as smooth as the picture on the original recipe website. However, the flavour and texture of the stew are amazing. I thought cauliflower was bland but it truly added to the flavour.

It is well-worth trying this recipe and looking at ways to make it your own by changing out ingredients for other keto-friendly ones. I have to admit that I was still hungry after eating it though. I will probably add broccoli next time for more colour too. You could thicken the stew by whisking in a small amount of xanthan gum (start with 1/4-1/2 tsp) and make a large portion of cauliflower mash as a side. I will be making the stew again but with variations. It makes 4 servings.

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 40 mins

Nutrition per serving: calories 568 | protein 40g | fat 39g | net carbs 10g

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter (I used a lactose-free butter)
  • 250g celery stalks, diced
  • 2/3 cup onion, diced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used garlic puree)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (I wouldn’t use this again as it floated on the surface; smoked paprika would be better and give depth)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 800g boneless chicken thighs (None of us like chicken thighs so I used chicken breast)
  • 5 cups chicken stock (I used vegetable stock)
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch
  • 200g courgette, cut into chunks (I chose not to use courgette, instead I replaced it with chestnut mushrooms)
  • 400g fresh or frozen, cauliflower
  • Salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, for garnishing (optional) (I didn’t fancy going out in the garden to find some!)

Method:

  • Melt the butter over a medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until softened, and the onions translucent, for around 7-10 minutes.
  • Dice the chicken, add and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, add half of the chicken stock to the pot. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • In a different pan, add the cauliflower and remaining chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover, and simmer for around 5 minutes, until the cauliflower is softened. Then blend with an immersion blender or hand mixer until smooth. (My immersion blender exploded a while ago, so I mashed the cauliflower instead). I have now ordered an immersion blender!
  • Combine the chicken mixture, with the cauliflower (this creates a thick base for the stew). Add the green pepper, courgette (I replaced the courgette, and used mushrooms instead) and stir together. Let the mixture simmer for around 30 minutes.
  • Ladle the stew into bowls, season with salt & pepper to taste, and enjoy!!

Note: This is quite a thick stew, if you prefer a thinner consistency, add some more chicken stock.

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