Craving a healthy chicken stew, that’s loaded with seasonal vegetables? Try this easy chicken stew with a mix of squash, escarole lettuce and convenient canned white beans for a one pot meal that can’t be beat. It’s probably the best chicken stew you can make while still sticking to a sensible eating plan.
The Best Chicken Stew is a Healthy Chicken Stew
Traditional chicken stews can be heavy and coma-inducing, with a creamy gravy, loads of potatoes and maybe a dumpling or two. I wanted to make a lightened up version that would satisfy our comfort food cravings without sending us into our collective “fat jeans.” This easy chicken stew recipe gets bonus points for being one of the best fall chicken recipes I’ve had in a long while as well as a simple one pot meal.
If You Love A One Pot Meal…
I got you with the “one pot meal,” didn’t I? But it’s true. This healthy chicken stew makes a one pot meal on your stovetop in about 90 minutes and it’s jam-packed with good tasting and good for you veg, including acorn squash, carrots, onion, white beans and escarole lettuce, which cook down into tender, savory bites. I’m telling you — best chicken stew EVER…
Side note: My husband isn’t a fan of acorn squash. At all. It stems from a childhood incident where he was given an ultimatum –” no dessert, until you finish your squash.” (I’m told it was covered in a sweet, goopy topping that made him gag.) I took his experience into account when making this healthy chicken stew by avoiding anything that would trigger bad memories and when I set this one pot meal on the table and he took his first bite — there was no looking back. This easy chicken stew shot to the top of his favorite fall chicken recipes list… acorn squash or not.
Aside from squash, I’ve also included escarole lettuce and canned white beans in this healthy chicken stew. Escarole is tougher than regular leaf lettuces and can stand up to braising and simmering. Escarole lettuce wouldn’t be my first choice for a salad, but in soups and stews, it’s the perfect green, becoming tender and chewy. You can use whatever white beans you have in the pantry for this one pot meal, but don’t drain the beans the way you normally might. The thick, viscous liquid in the can adds body to this dish — and is one of the ways I’ve lightened up this healthy chicken stew, instead of using flour or other thickeners.
Easy Chicken Stew Recipe Makes A Lot
This makes a large pot of stew and the leftovers are great for lunches later in the week or for “leftover night” (which happens to be my favorite night of the week). It’s great with corn bread or biscuits (though that does diminish the whole “healthy aspect” of healthy chicken stew… LOL.)
Make this one pot meal tonight for dinner, you won’t be disappointed.
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Easy Chicken Stew with Fall Vegetables
- 1 1/2 pounds bone in, skin on chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion sliced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
- 2 medium celery stalks
- 2 cups acorn squash peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups chicken stock divided
- 4 cups escarole lettuce roughly chopped
- 1 15-ounce can great northern or cannellini beans with their liquid
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- In a 7-8 quart dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Dry the chicken with paper towels and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. When the dutch oven is hot, place the chicken breasts in skin-side down and cook for 5 minutes or until the skin is browned and the chicken releases from the pan.
- Flip the chicken and cook an additional 5 minutes, then remove the chicken to a separate plate or shallow bowl. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften slightly.
- Add the diced squash and bay leaf to the pot, and saute, stirring occasionally for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the white wine and simmer for about 5 minutes, then add in 2 cups of the chicken broth. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot.
- Bring the stew to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Transfer chicken back to the plate to cool for a few minutes until you can handle it.
- Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred the chicken meat with your hands, or use a knife to cut it into small chunks. Transfer the chicken back to the pot.
- Add the white beans (in their liquid) and escarole to the pot. Stir to combine and heat to a rapid simmer.
- Add the cornstarch to the remaining cup of chicken broth and whisk until well combined. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the dutch oven and stir to combine. Bring the stew to a light boil, stirring constantly for one minute. Turn off the heat and cover the dutch oven tightly with a lid. Let the stew rest for 10 minutes, then serve. (The resting time gives the escarole time to wilt and become tender without over cooking it.)
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