The snow is softly falling, white and gray, part and whole, infinite and repetitious, soft and hard, frozen and melting, a crunching underfoot and soundless. It’s magical and cumbersome all at the same time. But first of all it is the culmination of many into one. It is substance, magically turning grass crystalline–covered in white; driveways, fields, log piles, collapsed red barns, even trees into one–all white, all the same.
It’s the perfect time of year to bury ourselves in cozy warmth, and nourish our insides; our bodies, our bellies, our hearts.
Here are two great recipes I make each winter season–Chicken Stew and Oatmeal Pecan Cookies. Both healthy, nourishing, and fairly easy to make.
Shannon’s Chicken Stew
2 stalks celery, cut into cubed pieces
1 carrot, peeled, cut into small pieces
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes (I use Pomi chopped)
1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf (dried)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 chicken breast with bone and skin (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
1 (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, drained and rinsed. (I use light red kidney beans)
Heat the oil in a 5 1/2-quart saucepan/pot over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion. Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent–roughly seven minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomatoes with some of the juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the chicken breasts; submerge chicken completely.
Bring liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken over and stirring the mixture every so often, about 25 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a work surface and cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer until the liquid has reduced into a stew consistency, about 10-15 minutes.
Discard the skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into small/shredded pieces. Return the shredded meat to the stew. Bring the stew just to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper–Enjoy!