Its the 20th of December and I scraped off frost from my car windows for the first time this winter. The car thermometer read 30 F for the first time. Yikes! Something is terribly wrong with this picture. But now that the cold days have finally arrived (or so we hope) here's my Mom's chicken stew recipe to warm the very cockles of your frozen being. Since its a stew, you need not be a whiz with the knife set....just a few hacks with your trusty knife should get you through. I love my meaty dishes with loads of vegetables and try to sneak in as many vegetables as I can possibly lay my hands on. Green papaya, green beans, peas, root vegetables of all kinds (except beets)...into the stew pot they go. Talking about stew pots, let me be honest, yours truly is too lazy to stand around stirring a stew pot and usually cooks this concoction in a pressure cooker. However feel free to slow cook it like a propah stew if you are so inclined.
Clean, peel and quarter four potatoes, two onions and three tomatoes(no peeling needed for these). Also peel and cut three carrots and one parsnip into large chunks. Bone-in chicken pieces works best for this recipe so start of with marinating two lbs. of chicken pieces with two tablespoons of fresh* ginger garlic paste and salt for an hour. Heat three-four tablespoons of butter (no substitutions) in a pressure cooker, add bay leaves(2), whole peppercorns(1 tbsp), cloves(6), cinnamon (1.5 inch piece) and cardamoms (3). Fry till aromatic and then add the onion chunks. After they have turned translucent add the chicken and brown. Add the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, salt and two cups of water next. Put on the lid and cook for two whistles**, turn off the heat and let pressure release slowly. Remove lid after 10 minutes, add a cup of frozen cut beans and frozen peas each, if you need more vegetables. Simmer for another 5 minutes to let the frozen vegetables cook through, adjust seasoning. Sprinkle some crushed black pepper, chopped cilantro and enjoy with rice.
* can't be bothered with fresh ginger garlic paste, just crush an one inch knob of ginger with three cloves of garlic and add to the seasoned butter along with the onions.
** Sing some of the old Prestige Pressure Cooker jingles and then suddenly realise how sexist the whole"jo bibi se kare pyaar wo prestige se kaise kare inkaar" stuff was.