Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Book: Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul; The Bite: Hearty Chicken Stew

Happy Veteran's Day!

The Book!

I want to give a special thanks to the countless men and women who have sacrificed and served, or still serve, in our military--THANK YOU! On behalf of Veteran's Day and in honor of our veterans, I want to highlight some of their stories as told in the book, "Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul" (2012), published by Simon & Schuster.

Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul: Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul will inspire and touch any veterans and their families, and allow others to appreciate the freedom for which they fought.
A compelling collection of the true-life experiences of extraordinary men and women in every branch of service, who changed the course of history by their acts of valor in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War. Their experiences offer a glimpse of timeless history, revealing moments of compassion, bravery, respect, and reverence. With chapters including Above and Beyond, The Home Front, The Front Lines, Coming Home, Healing, Brothers in Arms, and Honoring Those Who Served, this collection relays heroic deeds, acts of compassion and empathy, fears confronted, and victories attained.
This is a wonderful tribute to anyone who gave in service to their country, as well as to their families.

Book Stats:
Genre - Adult, Non-Fiction
Page Count - 384
Target Age Group -
Theme(s) - Military

The Bite
Hearty Chicken Stew
Grab a blanket, your book, and a bowl of this chicken stew! This hearty stew will surely not disappoint especially as we enter into the winter months. Your family, as well as your taste buds will thank you for it! Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you, it is really fast and simple to make. If you wish to cut down on the cooking time, you can save an hour of time by using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from your local market; otherwise, follow the instructions below for boiling the chicken before assembling the stew. Below is the pictorial step by step guide to making your own. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Boiled Chicken:
3 large Chicken Breasts (thawed or frozen)
(I would have preferred using bone-in chicken but I did not have any on hand; so I used what I had, which were boneless, skinless chicken breast)
About 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp each of: salt, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika
2 chicken flavored bouillon cubes
Ingredients for the Stew:
About 4 cups cooked "boiled"Chicken (see above)
5 slices Bacon
1-1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Carrots
1/4 cup Celery
3/4 to 1 cup Leeks

1/2 cup onions
4 Potatoes (I used small Russet potatoes)
4-3/4 cups Chicken Broth (I like Swanson the best)
1/2 tsp dried Basil
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp dried Parsley
1/2 tsp Celery Seed
1-2 tsp Salt (fyi...I used 2 tsp)
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Garlic Powder
6 Tbsp Flour
1/8 cup Zatarain's Dehydrated Sweet Bell Peppers
1/4 cup Half and Half

Ingredients needed to boil the chicken prior to assembling the stew.

Place 3 large chicken breasts in a stock pot.
(Note: they don't have to be thawed; you can also use straight-from-the-freezer frozen chicken)

Add enough water to the pot to cover about 1/2 inch higher than the the chicken pieces.

Add your seasonings: 2 Tbsp olive oil,
1 tsp each salt, onion and garlic powders, smoked paprika,
and 2 bouillon chicken cubes. 

Stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and let chicken boil for about an hour.

After about an hour, the water should be just about cooked out of the pot, and chicken is tender.
Set chicken aside.

Ingredients used to assemble the stew.

Cut 5 pieces of bacon into small parts.

Cut bacon.

Add bacon to pot with 1-1/2 Tbsp olive oil.

Cook bacon in olive oil until crispy.

Set bacon aside. DO NOT DISCARD bacon grease.

Add your chopped vegetables to the pot with the BACON GREASE:
Approx. 1 cup carrots, 3/4 to 1 cup leeks, 1/2 cup onions, and 1/4 cup celery.

Add your seasonings: 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried parsley, 1/2 tsp celery seed, 1-2 tsp salt (I used 2 tsp of salt), 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder.

Saute together until vegetables are tender; about 5 minutes.

Then add 6 Tbsp flour. Stir to incorporate and cook about a minute more.

Add 4-3/4 cups chicken broth.

Cut your potatoes.

Add potatoes to your broth.

Since I didn't have any fresh bell pepper on hand, I decided to throw in some dehydrated sweet bell pepper.
The picture shows how much I used, about 1/8 cup. 

Throw in your dehydrated bell pepper. Or if you have fresh bell pepper on hand, feel free to use it.

Chop the chicken.

The chicken was chopped into large pieces.

Just a reminder to stir your stock to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom.

Add chicken.

Add 1/4 cup Half & Half.

Add the bacon back to the pot.

Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Stew is ready!

Hearty Chicken Stew!

Hearty Chicken Stew!

Hearty Chicken Stew!

Hearty Chicken Stew!

Hearty Chicken Stew!

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