March in Wisconsin can mean one of two things... it's still cold and spring fever is rampant, and it is still really cold and spring fever is very rampant!
This year, the latter is the case. Next week our temperatures are forecast to be in the single digits - and that is without factoring in the windchill. Brrr!
There is hope, however! There were birds on the feeders today, and I could hear them singing despite the chilly temperatures that blew in after our snowstorm last night.
Since we aren't going to be putting away our winter coats any time soon around here, I think a good, hearty stew is in order. I am not a huge red meat stew fan, so I made this winter stew with chicken instead. The herb flavors and earthiness of the mushroom broth give it a unique robusticity. (Yeah, I just made that word up myself!) The cream and brown sugar really balances out all that acidity of the tomato; it allows the citrus to shine through like a ray of sun peaking through a small break in the clouds an overcast day. It brightens things up, but only subtly. Hints of spring, without too much spring... kind of like Wisconsin in March.
I paired this thick stew with a sweet cherry wine from Door County. I grabbed the bottle because I didn't have any whites on hand (Mark and I really prefer the reds), but you know, it just worked wonderfully with this stew. I mean, it really worked! A dessert wine with dinner... yeah, just go ahead and break the rules tonight. It's so close to spring... but its still winter and you've hung in there this long. You owe it to yourself!
and Macros Per Serving:
Total Time: 1 Hour
(Prep: 15 Minutes / Cook: 45 Minutes)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 1/2 cups mushroom broth
- 14 oz. can plum tomatoes, pureed in a blender with 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon chicken base
- 1 teaspoon maharajah style curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups long grain brown rice, uncooked
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 2 drops rosemary essential oil
- 2 drops lemon essential oil
- 1 drop black pepper essential oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, for garnish
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. They will get slightly browned and crunchy; that is ok! Turn down the heat if they start to turn black. They should be browned and slightly translucent, but not burned.
Add the chicken to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes.
Add the broth, pureed tomatoes, sherry wine, chicken base, curry and salt to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Stir in the rice, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every once in a while.
Check the rice after the 45 minutes are up, it should be al dente. If it is still crunchy, simmer another 5 minutes and check it again. Add a little water if the stew becomes too dry.
Stir the brown sugar into the cream until it is dissolved, then add it to the stew. Stir to heat through, then remove the whole pot from the heat.
Whisk the essential oils into the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Pour the oils into the stew and stir well. You want to make sure those sumptuous flavors are evenly distributed through the stew!
Serve the stew in bowls and sprinkle with fresh rosemary leaves.