CAJUN CHICKEN STEW (for six)
3 to 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
one 3 to 3-1/2 pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
½ cup all purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
3 cups water
¼ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
¾ cup thinly sliced scallion greens
cooked white rice to accompany
1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy 4 to 5 quart pot (preferably cast iron) over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt. Brown chicken in four batches, turning, about 5 minutes per batch, transferring as browned to a large bowl
2. Add enough of remaining oil to pot to total ¼ cup fat, then stir in flour with a flat metal or wooden spatula and cook over moderately low heat, scraping back and forth constantly (not stirring), until roux is the color of milk chocolate, 10 to 20 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper and celery and cook, scraping back and forth occasionally, until onion is softened, about 8 minutes.
3. Add water to roux mixture and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until roux is incorporated. (Roux will appear curdled initially, but will come together as it reaches a boil.) Add the chicken and any juices accumulated in bowl, then simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Stir in cayenne, scallion greens and salt to taste and serve over rice.
NOTE: Stew improves in flavor if made one day ahead (without scallion greens) and cooled completely, then chilled, covered. Reheat, then stir in scallion greens.
from Gourmet Magazine, May, 2004