Hello hello and welcome to soup town! We’re so glad you’re here. We’re easing into The Soup Series with a warm, rustic, cozy country chicken stew that will slow you down and fill you up in all the very best ways. Grab your big pots and soup bowls and let’s get going.
Our first soup is a love letter to slow food and an absolute stunner: juicy chicken cooked right in the stew, shredded piles of cabbage and chomps of tender carrot, almost creamy beans, and a rich, smoky broth thanks to a bacon, onion and garlic build. We’re here for all of it.
So, this isn’t necessarily like a hectic Tuesday kind of soup, it’s a little more involved. Think more of a slow-quiet Sunday kind of soup. A zen at the end of a long week Friday night dinner. An evening when you just want some quiet time in the kitchen sort of meal. It will take you a bit to bring it together, with a little bit of pre-planning involved (there’s a bean-soak situation coming your way, please trust us), but don’t be mad. Every single step will be worth it.
In This Post: Everything You Need For Country Chicken Stew
Longer on time, yes, but the ingredient list is pretty simple and for that, we are #blessed.
whole chicken (about 4lbs)
dried navy beans
onion and garlic
fresh thyme, bay leaf, and parsley
carrots & cabbage for veggie goodness
a swoop of red wine vinegar or squeeze of lemon to finish
a bit of salt to bring it all together
Grab Your Soup Pot and Make This Chicken Stew Happen
Are we in a fight? Bean-soaking?!
Yes. Okay, sure you *could* use a can of beans. We tried it. It works. But listen, there is something so special about using fresh beans and yes that involves soaking them first for a good long while. So you will have to remember in the morning, or even better the night before, to put them in some water. But that’s it! Just put them in there, give a little side-eye if you’re a teensy bit upset about this extra step, and then walk away! Don’t even think about them. We promise the richness and thickness and texture (they hold up better than canned) delivered in this stew is so A+ 100 WE WOULD NOT LIE.
We prefer paper-thin slices of onion and garlic for this one, just because it makes everything feel a little more texturally pleasing, but you could certainly do a rough chop of those if that’s more your style.
Get those going with some smoky bacon – and please note, the thicker cut bacon holds up better and turns into the most delectable little meaty bits in the final stew. If you don’t have that though, the regular thin-sliced totally works and you can just pull out any squigglers at the end before serving if it becomes a texture issue. It’s really all about the flavor depth it brings from the start.
And then we just plopped a whole ding dang chicken in there.
It truly is the most foolproof way to cook a whole chicken. You can’t mess it up. And the richness that using the whole bird brings to the broth is truly unsurpassed. Do it and do it now. We promise the little guy will cook in an hour.
Pre-soak your beans (4-12 hours).
Sauté bacon, onion, and garlic.
Plop in the beans and the seasoned bird (just a salt & pepp rub under the skin if you can manage).
Toss in a little herb bundle, tied up for easy removal.
Cover with water, then lid it and walk away.
When chicken is done, pull out and shred. Add half of the shredded chicken back into the stew. Reserve the other half for some yums later in the week or toss in the freezer!
Add carrots and cabbage and cook until soft.
Top with some more fresh herbs and a little swish of something acidic to bring it to life.
Chicken and Vegetables = Delicious, Humble, and So Cozy
Listen, coming hot off the SOS series, the process might feel a little extra here, but SO IS THE FLAVOR.
The texture and heartiness, the almost creamy thickness of the broth thanks to the dried beans and the whole chicken, the piles of veggies, the bread dips that are so very welcome to pass through here (hello no knead bread anyone?). We really can’t stop making this one – even with that whole bean-soaking thing.
So, though it might be a bit of a jaunt from the quick weeknight dinner path, we swear every patient second will be rewarded with a house filled with the warmest of warms while you breathe in the change of season with a humble little bowl of deep rich, tender, cozy deliciousness.
Country Chicken Stew: Frequently Asked Questions
Can you freeze this stew?
Absolutely! Just make sure to freeze it in a freezer-safe container or bag.
How can I make this soup extra creamy?
It’s a pretty creamy soup as-is – the beans let off a bit of starch that really adds to the lusciousness. If you wanted to add a splash of cream though, go for it!
Could I use chicken breasts or thighs instead of a whole chicken?
In a pinch, yes, you could definitely shred up some chicken breasts or thighs. If you have the time though, this is the perfect recipe for a whole chicken. SO much flavor comes from it a whole chicken that you don’t quite get from chicken breasts or thighs.
Can this be made in the Instant Pot?
Sure can! See Instant Pot instructions in the recipe notes.
Source Notes: This recipe was inspired by a French bean and chicken stew in the book Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes(affiliate link) – reading his description about making this in the French countryside sent me straight into the kitchen with a glass of wine and a big soup pot to channel all the country chicken stew vibes. Jamie’s recipe uses the bean soak method which I was unsure about at first, but it really does make the texture of the soup and broth so awesome. According to his notes, you can sub chicken thighs for the whole chicken, but this is a really great (read: easy) gateway into cooking a whole chicken if that’s something that you’re looking to add to your repertoire (not to mention getting some life-changingly delicious broth out of the deal).
A cozy, hearty, humble bowl of this Country Chicken Stew is waiting for you! Chicken, thick-cut bacon, navy beans, veggies, and fresh herbs all simmering in one big pot. It’s a good one, friends!
Country Chicken Stew
8ounces (half a pound) dried navy beans
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into very small pieces
2 small onions, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
thyme, bay leaf, and parsley (tie them together for easy removal)
1whole chicken (rub some salt under the skin ahead of time, if you think of it!)
water to cover
3 large carrots, sliced
one-third of a head of cabbage, thinly sliced
lemon or red wine vinegar to finish
parsley or any other herbs to finish
Cover the beans with water and soak for 4-12 hours.
Heat the bacon, onion, and garlic over medium high heat. Sauté until everything is very soft and flavorful, about 10 minutes.
Add the beans and herbs to the pot, and place the whole chicken on top of everything. Cover with water. Throw in the salt, put a lid on, and let it simmer for about an hour.
After an hour, take the chicken out and transfer to a large plate or cutting board to cool. Skim the top of the soup pot for any weird-looking foam. Pull out the herbs. Add carrots and cabbage and let the whole thing keep cooking to get those veggies softened.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the chicken meat off and cut / shred into bite-sized pieces. I usually add half of the chicken back to the pot and then save the other half for something else delicious later in the week. Squeeze a little lemon juice in there or hit it with a splash of red wine vinegar to finish. Serve with extra herbs if you want, and definitely get a piece of hot crusty bread slathered with that amazing garlic herb butter ready for some dunking. Oh my goodness, what a beauty. You’ve arrived.
Garlic Herb Butter: Soften a stick of butter. Mix with a clove of grated garlic, herbs, and salt and pepp to taste. Place back in the fridge to hang out until you’re ready for it. Slather on whatever kind of bread you like and dunk away.
Instant Pot Instructions: Pre-soak your beans for 4 hours. Using the Sauté function, cook the bacon, onion, and garlic in the Instant Pot for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the beans and herbs to the pot and place the whole chicken on top of everything. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken or almost cover it, depending on the size of your Instant Pot. Add in the salt. Place the lid on, and set the timer to cook on manual mode for 25 minutes. Let the steam release naturally. Take out the chicken to chop or shred. Pull out the herbs. Add in the carrots and cabbage. Add the shredded chicken back to the pot and give everything a good stir. Let the soup sit for a few minutes until the cabbage and carrots soften.
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour 15 minutes
Keywords: chicken soup, chicken stew, country stew
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