Summer Chicken Stew with Pappadew Peppers, Local Zucchini and Tarragon
A light dish for summer evenings. Take advantage of the farmers' market bounty of varietal zucchini, just picked cherry tomatoes and fragrant tarragon.
Stove top stews are wonderful for summer nights, no need to heat up the oven! At a recent trip to one of my favorite farmers' market (still awaiting heirloom tomatoes) I tasted just picked cherry tomatoes. The yellow ones were the sweetest. The bunches of tarragon were voluminous, and their fragrance made me remember how much I like this herb. Pungent yet sweet, a lingering licorice flavor.
I am little obsessed with zucchini at the moment. There are dozens of varieties, and no two farmers grow the same types. Here I am using the "gold rush" slender one (for it's tenderness and almost neon hue and the "avocado"(sweet, not bitter with a soft yellow interior). When the stew has almost finished simmering, the julienned zucchini is simply slipped in and steams in the flavorful broth.
A friend of mine dropped a jar of pappadew peppers for me to enjoy. What a great sweet and sour taste, and thought I would cook with them, and use the brine they are packed in. Their color lends a beautiful contrast to yellows and greens from the zucchini. A nice change from roasted red peppers. Maybe they will be the next rage ... remember the humble chipotle pepper at one time!
Chicken thighs, while they take a little time to de-fat, are tender when cooked correctly and irresistible. This recipe, like all of mine is written in detail so you understand the quantities of ingredients and the method. Covered and simmered over very low heat will produce a stew with beautifully melded flavors, and chicken that is soft and tender.
The ingredients are simple, and each compliments and does not overpower the others. Home made chicken stock is a plus. Trick - simmer your favorite brand a bit (if you do not have time to make your own) - add a stalk of celery with it's leaves an a few small sprigs of your favorite herb.
Enjoy the aroma as the stew simmers!
Marinating the chicken thighs,
a bountiful bunch of tarragon
The chicken and vegetables start to cook
Adding the broth to the stew
Almost done and ready to plate