Chicken Stew – from Prehistoric Times to Today

Chicken Stew - from Prehistoric Times to Today
by KC Kudra

Chicken stew is a delicious, warming meal. It is simple to make and you can make a lot of different variations of this tasty dish. Chicken stew actually has a fascinating history and this dish has been enjoyed for many centuries.

A stew is when two or more foods are simmered in a liquid and the liquid is served with the contents. Hungarian goulash, beef stroganoff, beef bourguignon, and coq au vin are all examples of stew recipes.

The oldest cookbook ever found, the “Apicius de re Coquinaria”, contains stew recipes, although these are fish and lamb stews rather than chicken stews. The identity of the author is unknown although there were three Romans with that name between 1 BC and 2 AD and the book is believed to date from that era.

It is possible to go back even further. Primitive tribes boiled foods together, which is what a stew is. Amazonian tribes used turtle shells to cook in and boiled the turtle entrails with other ingredients. Clam shells and similar were used by other cultures as cooking pots. This kind of cookery is proved to go back seven or eight thousand years with the archeological evidence we have access to. Pottery was invented about ten thousand years ago and this would have made cooking easier, especially dishes like stew.

Domestic fowl has been around for thousands of years and chicken stew has been popular for a long time, with different cultures having their own versions of this dish. Examples include the spicy chicken stew found in Morocco or the peanut butter chicken stew favored in parts of Africa.

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Different Kinds of Chicken Stew Recipes

One type of chicken stew, which is a couple of hundred years old, is chicken booyah. This is like a thick soup or a thin stew and is eaten in northeast Wisconsin. The first Belgian immigrants came to Wisconsin in 1853 and they spoke a language called Walloon, which is nothing like English or French. It is thought that the Belgian wrote down booyah because he did not know how to spell bouillon and the name stuck.

What is Southern Chicken Stew?

Perhaps you have tried southern chicken stew. It is a very popular recipe in North Carolina. Southern chicken stew is made with a whole chicken parboiled in a milk or cream based sauce. Butter, salt, pepper, and other ingredients are used in this recipe. The color of southern chicken stew varies from white to yellow, depending how much margarine or butter is used. It can be thin or thick in consistency and saltine crackers are often served with southern chicken stew.

Southern chicken stew is often served in the coolest months of the year and the phrase “chicken stew” can refer to the gathering itself rather than the food. A chicken stew recipe is usually thought of as a comfort food because these recipes are cheap to make, enjoyed by nearly everybody and they are warming and flavorful. This is a common dish served at social gatherings such as church fellowships, family reunions, and community fundraisers.

At such events, the chicken stew will be prepared in a large cast iron or stainless steel cooking pot and might be made outside over an open fire. You might get grilled cheese sandwiches, rice, or coleslaw served on the side.

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