Friday, October 25, 2002

Chicken Cider Stew

Chicken Cider Stew is a colorful fall stew with moist bites of chicken, sweet potatoes and carrots cooked in apple cider. The recipe makes up quickly and lucky thing, tastes good right away. It's a long-time favorite recipe, mine, yes, but also other Kitchen Parade readers. No wonder, it's hot, it's healthy, it's full of flavor. Better still? It's one of those one-pot quick supper recipes we all love so much. Enjoy!

Chicken Cider Stew, another Quick Supper ♥, a colorful fall stew with sweet potatoes, carrots. Rave reviews. Weight Watchers friendly!

"I absolutely love the Apple Cider Chicken Stew." ~ Amanda
"My husband ... loved it, and so did I!" ~ Kirsten
"I tried this over the weekend and it was excellent!" ~ Jenn
"Apple Cider Chicken Stew is DELISH!" ~ ColoradoCookie
"Excellent recipe and open to experimentation." ~ Phil
"OMG!!! That was great!!!! All full and happy." ~ Ann
"I made it last night – good!" ~ Pat

Over the years, I’ve collected several recipes that feature sweet potato, the thick-skinned, orange-fleshed tuber so packed with Vitamins A and C that some nutritionists call them a “super food”.

Especially plentiful during the fall, sweet potatoes carry about a third fewer calories and carbohydrates than white potatoes. Even low-carb diets encourage sweet potatoes when others are a no-no.

If your experience with sweet potatoes is limited to sweet concoctions topped with marshmallow, try these simple recipes and be treated to rich flavor unadulterated by added sugar. I could make a meal out of either one!


Cook peeled sweet potatoes in boiling water until soft. Drain the water, then mash until smooth. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Top with a touch of butter.


Peel sweet potatoes and slice cross-wise about 1/3” thick. Spray or lightly brush both sides with olive oil, then arrange in single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt or parmesan cheese and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until edges become crispy and centers soft.
ALANNA's TIPS I some times skip the bacon but do nearly always use bacon fat to cook the onion, celery and chicken. Chicken breasts are convenient but expensive. For a more frugal (and dare I say, flavorful?) dish, choose chicken thighs. Packages of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are quite inexpensive but I always remove the skins. No apple cider? No problem! Substitute 2 cups apple juice for the 2 cups apple cider. But for the needed astringency, near the end of the cooking time, stir in a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar. For a gluten-free version, omit the flour and use an immersion blender to blend a small portion of the liquid and sweet potato/carrot mixture. Ready to play around? Add tomatillos, even chopped fresh tomato and poblano chili. (A surprise shortcut? Pico de gallo!) In the fall, this is my go-to dish to take to families when someone's ill or has lost a family member. It's easy to throw together, it keeps. Most important, it's familiar, it's comforting, everyone loves it.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Total preparation time: 50 minutes
Makes 8 cups
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 rib celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups apple cider (see TIPS)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme (or savory), crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Cook bacon until crisp over medium heat in a large, heavy Dutch oven or braising dish. Remove bacon, chop and set aside.

Drain fat from pan, leaving only what coats the surface. Add onions, celery and chicken and sauté, stirring regularly, until onions are golden and chicken is cooked through.

Add carrots, sweet potatoes and apple and let cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add apple cider, water, ketchup, salt, savory, basil and pepper. Let simmer over low-medium heat about 20 minutes until carrots and sweet potatoes are cooked.

Put flour in small dish and slowly add 1/2 cup hot liquid from the stew to make a smooth paste. Stir into hot stew and cook another five minutes. Sprinkle with the cooked bacon. Serve and savor!

SERVING SUGGESTION Serve with rice cooked in half water, half apple cider, which adds a sweet, almost nutty flavor to the rice that complements the stew beautifully. That said, this stew is substantial on its own and really doesn't require a starch.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 202 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 24g Carb; 3g Fiber; 14g Sugar; 276mg Sodium; 51mg Cholesterol; 22g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4 & WW PointsPlus 5 & SmartPoints 6

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Have a favorite way to serve nutrient-rich sweet potatoes at your house? Share the recipe via If you like these Kitchen Parade recipes, consider a free e-mail subscription. When a new recipe is published, you'll be notified via e-mail! How to print a recipe on Kitchen Parade. If you like Kitchen Parade, forward this recipe to a friend who might too! You might like A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables too!

More Sweet Potato Recipes

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Turkey Sweet Potato Soup Confetti Potato Salad Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle
~ more sweet potato recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ My Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes ~

~ Delicious Microwave Sweet Potato ~
~ Maple Ginger Sweet Potatoes ~
~ Fresh Candied Yams ~
~ more sweet potato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture,
my food blog about vegetable recipes

More Apple Cider Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Swiss Bircher Müesli Chicken with Creamy Cider Gravy Apple Cider Indian Pudding

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Friday, October 18, 2002

Best-Ever Oatmeal Bread

The Recipe: A slightly sweet but still savory yeast bread, moist with oats and nutty with ground pecans, barely sweet with molasses and honey. The crust is soft but slightly chewy, the interior crumb is quite soft. This bread makes excellent toast!

The Conversation: Bread is special in my family, it means much more than just the bread itself. Read on.

Best-Ever Oatmeal Bread | rich, nutty homemade bread | Kitchen Parade

"This was very good." ~ acr

A week ago today, my friend Tricia lost her Mom.

A week ago tomorrow would have been my Mom's 77th birthday. Even before hearing of Tricia's loss, I planned to pay tribute to Mom, as I do every year, by making bread on her birthday.

When I was growing up, my mother made bread every week. It was therapeutic: a way to feed her family and heal her soul while recovering from a radical mastectomy at only age 35, a way to exercise muscles irrevocably cut and weakened by surgery. She felt satisfaction knowing her labor – her pain – would nourish her family physically and spiritually.

For years, Mom mixed dough in a huge cream-colored ceramic bowl with soft pink and aqua stripes (it's pictured, above). Later she downscaled – her favorite bread bowl became a gallon plastic ice cream bucket! (More about that here, with the recipe for Homemade Yeast Rolls aka My Mom's "Ice Cream Pail" Buns.)

Then many years later, when my mom was sick with lung cancer and my family was caring for her in my home, I too made bread, this bread.

We came to call it Best-Ever Oatmeal Bread, learning that the aroma of baking bread attracts a crowd to the kitchen, eagerly awaiting the moment when the loaves are cool enough to cut into thick slices and slather with fresh butter.

It was Kitchen Parade's second recipe in 2002, fitting, for sure, since my mom first began writing Kitchen Parade when I was a baby and it was only after her death that I decided to follow in her footsteps.

So after hearing Tricia's news, I knew that after mixing and kneading and tending and shaping and baking and tapping and buttering, I would deliver warm bread to a family raw with loss, gathering with memories, communing with tears and laughter, to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of their own mother.

This recipe was first published in print in 2002 and is published online for the first time in 2007 for a blogging event called Cooking to Combat Cancer. Mele Cotte, herself a survivor, is the host and this is my proud entry.

Best-Ever Oatmeal Bread is a forgiving and adaptable recipe. I’ve intentionally (or accidentally) doubled the molasses and honey, omitted the pecan meal or the milk powder, used almond meal instead of pecan meal, substituted all-purpose flour for a portion of the bread flour, added dried cranberries or sunflower seeds, and so on.

So – follow the recipe the first time, then start experimenting.

Like all bread, it's delicious straight from the oven. But a loaf stays fresh for a week – if it lasts that long! It’s luscious toasted for breakfast and for some reason, works particularly well with chicken salad for lunch.

"PUNCH" THE DOUGH DOWN So many recipes use this language but it's just not right. "Punching" the dough is way too dramatic! Instead, just use a clenched fist, knuckles first, to gently deflate the dough, pushing the air out of it. No need to use bread dough like a punching bag, really!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


2 standard-size loaves, 16 slices each
or 1 standard-size loaf and two small rounds or three small rounds, etc.
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: about 5 hours
  • 1 package yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses (regular or blackstrap)
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 112g) cup melted salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons (55g) molasses (regular or blackstrap)
  • 1/4 cup (90g) honey
  • 1/2 cup (60g) dried milk powder
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2½ cups boiling water
  • 1 cup (120g) pecan meal (or ground pecans)
  • 6 cups bread flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 750g
  • Additional bread flour, as needed for kneading
  • Oil, for bowl
  • Butter, for top crust

PROOF THE YEAST Proof the yeast by stirring it in small dish with the tablespoon of molasses and the warm water. It should bubble up in 5 minutes though if the yeast is cold (or old) it will take longer. If the mixture doesn't bubble up, unfortunately the yeast is dead and you'll need to start over the new yeast.

MIX THE DOUGH In a large bowl, combine butter, the 3 tablespoons molasses, honey, milk powder, oatmeal, salt and boiling water. Stir until cool. Add the yeast mixture, pecan meal, 6 cups flour and combine well. Turn dough onto a clean surface dusted with additional flour. It will be quite sticky.

CLEAN THE BOWL Let the bread rest for 5 - 10 minutes. While it rests, wash the bowl, rubs its bottom and sides quite liberally with oil.

KNEAD Knead the dough for 5 – 10 minutes, sprinkling the top and the work surface with flour to avoid sticking, a bench knife or other flat surface really helps. Add as little flour as you can manage, how much will depend on the flour, the humidity in the kitchen, how wet the dough already is. The last time I made it, I used almost another full 1-1/2 cups flour.

FIRST RISE Shape dough into a round and place in the oiled bowl. Turn dough 360 degrees to cover the entire dough surface lightly with oil. Cover bowl with a towel and place in a warm spot to rise. Let rise until doubled, how long will depend on the strength of the yeast, the warmth of your kitchen, etc.

SHAPE & SECOND RISE Use a fist to gently depress the dough. For two 9x5” loaf pans, cut the dough in half and shape into two logs. Spray the loaf pans with cooking spray and place one log in each. Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot to rise. Let rise 1 hour or until the dough is about 1” taller than the sides.

BAKE Set oven to 350F/175C. When hot, bake 30 - 35 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread has reached 180F/80C (or slightly higher, up to 190F), tenting with foil if the top browns too quickly.

BUTTER & COOL Remove from oven and rub the loaf tops lightly with butter. After 10 minutes, remove loaves from the pans and let cool completely on racks.

TO SERVE If you can, let the bread cool almost entirely before slicing to avoid a rough crumb. Do let the bread cool completely before wrapping.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice: 255 Calories; 5 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 46 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 208 mg Sodium; 4 mg Cholesterol, 7 g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 5 & WW Points Plus 7
Adapted from King Arthur Flour. Order pecan meal, finely ground aromatic pecans in five-pound bags from Sunnyland Farms in Georgia.

Just a Touch of Butter

Best-Ever Oatmeal Bread | rich, nutty homemade bread | Kitchen Parade

While the bread is still hot from the oven, brush the crust with a little butter. This keeps it soft and just a little bit chewy.

More Homemade Bread Recipes

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Homemade Yeast Rolls: Ice Cream Pail Buns Homemade Butterhorns (Thanksgiving Crescent Rolls) Swedish Rye Bread

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