Do you know Jamie Oliver’s stew formula? You vary it by the meat, liquid (alcohol) and herbs you use and can cook it either on the stove or in a Dutch oven in the oven. I tried the chicken and wine version last night (beef & ale, pork & cider and lamb & red wine are the other options) and added a topping of Trader Joe’s refrigerator biscuits. What a nice Friday dinner at home meal. A bit of prep work and then just let it cook – I cooked mine in the oven which really appealed to me for some reason. I also like the use of simple ingredients and wine as the liquid, not because I like wine (of course I do), but because I wanted to top the stew with puff pastry or biscuit. A milk-based stew plus puff-pastry or biscuit can just be too much, you know?
I was a little concerned that my husband would balk at the use of tomatoes in the stew (he’s a bit of a purist in these matters). But when he said that it smelled like something his mother used to make while it was still in the oven, I figured it would be all right and it was – no negative tomato comments. Still, next time I think I’ll try leaving the chopped tomato with its juice out and replacing that liquid with about 1 1/3 c chicken stock. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious with the tomatoes, but I’d like to see how it works for more of a traditional chicken pot-pie. I think I might even add a spoonful of tomato paste even if I go without the tomatoes, because a little tomato taste does add some depth of flavor. I also added one chopped potato to the basic recipe and will definitely do that again. If you want to add biscuits, place them on top of the stew about twenty to twenty-five minutes before the end of the cooking time. Then place the stew in your Dutch oven back in the oven, uncovered, until the biscuits look done. They’ll take more time to bake than is indicated on the package.