Poached Chicken with Autumn Vegetables

Winter Challenge: Lighten up even when it’s cold

Brrrr, winter’s knocking on the door and I really don’t want to answer. I love coats and boots and open fires but I tend to spread in winter. It’s the comfort food…..

You know what I’m talking about – hearty stews with crusty bread, big soups with dumplings, lasagne, meatloaf, apple pie and hot puddings. It’s a real farmhouse food time of year and I’m determined not to miss out.

hearty stews

I can’t. I’d be miserable. In fact, it’s entirely possible that in my state of denial I’d become a comfort-food-stalker, roaming the neighbourhood for signs of stews and pies, peering through windows at dinner time at steaming bowls of Scotch Broth and Hearty Beef Stew. It would be sad and pathetic not to mention disturbing for the neighbours….

No my fellow moodie foodies, this year I’m having it all without the natural winter spread. I’m lightening up typical comfort dishes like beef stew, chicken ‘n dumpling soup, lamb casserole with doughboys and apple pie. It’s my winter challenge.

chicken ‘n dumpling

I’m starting with a simple chicken dish that I fall back on every time when I need to lighten things up a little without losing any comfort. It’s poached chicken with vegetables. I’ve called it Poached Chicken with Autumn Vegetables but it could just as well be spring vegetables, winter vegetables or even summer vegetables if you needed something soupy in summer. Really, you can use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

This dish is a lovely light dish with plenty of flavour that fills you up on those cold evenings. All you need is some chicken breasts, vegetables, herbs and stock. The secret is making a tasty broth that infuses the chicken and veg. I’ve used chicken stock with bay, garlic and thyme but you could just as easily use sage and leek or rosemary and garlic or fennel and peppercorn or any other combination.

Again, use what you’ve got in the pantry and tailor it to your own personal taste. But I promise you, once you’ve made this you’ll make it again and again because it’s so easy and deliciously comforting.

I’ve put it in Ravenous Wrath because it’s made in under 30 minutes from start to finish, but I could just as easily put it in Comforting Couch Potato or even Indulgence Absolute if I’d used different veg (baby carrots, cauli, leeks with a nest of watercress would be nice) and – it would make a great dinner party dish on a cold night.

Your Challenge: I’ve already mentioned some of the dishes that will be coming up in the challenge – beef stew, chicken ‘n dumpling soup and apple pie – but if you have any fat laden winter faves that you’d like considered for a little lightening up, feel free to suggest them in the comments below and I’ll keep them in mind. I do love a good food challenge.

Until next time, keep warm and comforted but tell me, what’s your favourite comfort food in the colder months?

Poached Chicken with Autumn Vegetables

chicken ‘n dumpling

Indulge without guilt
Eat without deprivation
Cook great food even when you are on your own
Embrace food moods
Eat what you want

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