Change is in the air: after two months of a solitary Om echoing off the walls of my yoga studio, my morning classes are now packed; excitable children line up outside my apartment building every morning for the bus; and a newly christened jar of cinnamon sits proudly on the shelf of my very own kitchen. Fall is here… almost. What do you call this in-between season when you’re packing a sweater to work, but still wearing summer sandals? More importantly, what do you eat when it’s not quite lasagna season, but the idea of a salad for dinner starts to seem like a sad joke?
For some input on how to make this transition easier, I turned to my friends Phoebe and Cara who run a food blog called Big Girls Small Kitchen. Their advice for Seasonal Appetite Disorder-sufferers, like myself, is to savor the last, bright flavors of summer in the context of heartier, more filling recipes. Their summer chicken stew recipe, below, is just the thing for easy and delicious shoulder-season dining.
Summer Chicken Stew
- 2.5 pounds chicken (I used 3 chicken drumsticks and 4 chicken thighs, all skin on)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, diced
- ¼ small jalepeno pepper, minced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- Juice of half a lemon
- ¾ cups white wine
- ¾ cups chicken broth (or water)
- ¼ cup mixed fresh herbs—whatever the garden gives you. I used a combination of basil, lemon thyme, oregano, and chives.
- Season the chicken pieces on both sides with about ¾ teaspoons salt and lots of pepper.
- Over high heat, brown the chicken in the oil using a large Dutch oven. Be sure not to crowd the pan—you’ll probably have to do this in two batches. Chicken pieces will take 3-6 minutes to brown. Remove to a plate.
- Turn the heat to medium low and add the onions. Cook for about 3 minutes, until nearly translucent. Add the red pepper and the minced jalepenos and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the peppers soften. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook just until they begin to break apart. Add the garlic cloves and the remaining salt. Squeeze the lemon over and mix to combine.
- Arrange the chicken layers on top of the vegetables, and stir in the fresh herbs. Pour the white wine and chicken broth over everything; the chicken pieces should be nearly submerged.
- Cook for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Towards the end, taste for salt. The chicken should be cooked through and even slightly falling apart.
- Serve over rice or pasta, or with crusty bread. Top each serving with more fresh herbs and drizzle with some basil oil if you have it.
Phoebe and Cara also recommend the following dishes:
Pre-Fall Parmesan Polenta Steaks with Heirloom Tomato-Corn Salad & Crispy Proscuitto
A (mostly) vegetarian main that lets you feel like you’re cutting into a steak. Topped with summer’s last corn and tomato, the rich polenta gets balanced out by some of our favorite veggies.
Last-of-the-Harvest Zucchini-Rice Gratin
What mac & cheese would be if it were made with rice instead of pasta and with a few late summer veggies thrown into the mix. A fab side dish that doubles as a vegetarian main.
For more great recipes, visit Big Girls Small Kitchen.