Firehouse Chicken Stew
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 poblano or Anaheim peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 6 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 10 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 large sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 2 bottles, 12 ounces each, brown ale, such as Newcastle
- 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 pound okra, stemmed, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 12 cups canned low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 cans, 28 ounces each, peeled whole tomatoes with their liquid, crushed
- 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, about 6 ears
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Hot sauce, for serving (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add the chicken, and toss well to evenly coat. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide, 20-quart, heavy-bottomed pot. Add half of the chicken, and brown, turning once, until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a large bowl. Add remaining 1/4 cup oil to the pot and brown remaining chicken; transfer to the bowl and set aside.
- Add the onions, peppers, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot, and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add ale and bring to a simmer, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add potatoes, okra, chicken stock, tomatoes and their liquid, corn, and red pepper flakes, and bring the mixture to a boil. Add reserved chicken, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until vegetables and chicken are tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk remaining 1/2 cup flour together with the milk until smooth. Stir mixture into the stew and return to a simmer. Cook until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Reseason with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Serve with a dash of hot sauce, if desired.
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