In a bid to eat more healthily whilst at work (and at the same time save some money) I have decided to make lunch at home and bring it in.

Towards the end of last year, I sat down and had a look at my finances and realised that I was spending (or wasting) far too much money whilst at work, when all I should have been doing during that time was earning money!

I would often buy coffee on my way to work, buy breakfast, buy lunch, buy a few more coffees and then sometimes even go out for dinner afterwards. This was all too much I decided – not only was it bad for my wallet, but it also wasn’t great for my health either. So my working lunch needed a 2017 makeover.

The easiest way to resolve this was by making packed lunch; limiting the number of coffee I drink per day (swapped with either herbal tea or water); and making sure I eat breakfast at home. Although this also means that I need to allocate more time to cooking and prepping my lunch, it was frankly a small sacrifice to make.

I often resort to digging around in my store cupboard and fridge to see what I have about, and this dish is a classic base for one of my favourite regular stews. You can exchange the meat for pretty much anything – turkey, lamb and beef all work just as well. You could add potatoes to the stew, or add any combination of vegetables. If you don’t have all of them, that’s fine too – you can take out or exchange as you wish. The same goes for the herbs and spices – this combination was just made up of what I had at home, but you can change for anything that you like.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I do – and that it perhaps helps you use up store cupboard ingredients or stop spending too much money at work!

OTV Cuisine: Store-cupboard Chicken Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 leek
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 small carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 red chilli
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used coconut but any will do)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon chicken seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 chicken stock cube / maggi stock cube
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Method:

  • Start by jointing the chicken. I like to skin the chicken as well, as it reduces the fat content of the dish, but this is optional and you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. Once jointed set aside until ready to use.

  • Next you will need to chop the vegetables. These are just a mixture of what I had lying around the house and in the fridge and you are free to swap or take out anyone you don’t want or have.
  • So finely chop the leek, onion, spring onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery. These will all go into the pan at the same time so can be kept together.

  • Then chop the red chilli, garlic and mushrooms and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan/casserole dish and fry the chicken, just long enough to seal and slightly brown. You will probably need to do this in batches. Take out the pan and set aside once ready.

  • Next add the first set of chopped veg (the leek, onions etc) to the pan and fry until the leeks and onions become translucent.
  • Add the garlic and chilli and continue to fry.
  • Then add the mushrooms and fry again ensuring none of the vegetables burn.
  • Then add the herbs and spices and stir to cover. Fry until you can smell the aromatic spices.

  • Add the chicken back to the pan and cover with water (around 1 litre).
  • Add the stock cube to the dish together with the salt and pepper and a bayleaf. Cover and leave to stew for around 30-40 minutes.
  • Check on the dish occasionally and give the ingredients a stir.
  • After around 30-40 minutes, take the lid off to allow the liquid to reduce. The liquid should become much thicker, although you can reduce as much as you like.
  • Once the liquid has reduced to the required amount/consistency, check for seasoning. It is then ready to serve.

  • I like to serve with rice, bulgar wheat, couscous or quinoa and some freshly boiled vegetables, like broccoli.

Photos: Amaka

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