Spring arrives in my garden in a fit of sweet English peas, ready for shelling, and aromatic herbs. They marry well together, balanced by cream and mild-flavored button mushrooms. This dish, decidedly one of my favorites, is one I find myself making again and again. Elegant enough for company, but simple enough for a weeknight family dinner, it starts by browning chicken and then simmering it with wine, leeks, mushrooms, and peas until the meat falls off the bone. The broth, enhanced with crème fraîche, makes a lovely sauce, and I serve this over potatoes.
This dish, like traditional Cream of Chicken Soup or Yucatan-Style Lime Soup, makes its own gelatin-rich broth as the chicken gently simmers and stews in the pot, saving you time in the kitchen and yielding an utterly flavorful and rich springtime stew.
This recipe is reprinted with permission from Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen, a gorgeous collection of wholesome recipes for bone, fish, meat and vegetable broths, written and photographed by Jennifer McGruther, 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
- 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds, cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 leeks, thinly sliced
- 1 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 1⁄2 pounds English peas in their shell, or 2 cups frozen peas
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 bunch chives, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup crème fraîche
Warm the butter in the bottom of a Dutch oven over medium heat. Working in batches to prevent overcrowding, add the chicken pieces to the pot and brown them, about 6 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and then stir in the leeks and mushrooms.
Add the salt to the pot, cover it, and turn down the heat to medium-low. Allow the leeks and mushrooms to sweat together in the heat of the pot until tender, about 8 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot and then pour in the white wine. Simmer it all together over medium-low heat until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes.
If you’re using fresh peas still in their shell, shell them while the chicken cooks. Pour them into the pan and then continue simmering them all together until the peas soften and become tender, a further 20 minutes.
If you’re using frozen peas, continue cooking the chicken another 15 minutes and then pour in the peas, allowing them to warm, about 5 minutes more. Stir the parsley and chives into the pot. Turn off the heat, stir in the crème fraîche, season with sea salt, and serve hot.