This recipe easily fills your slow cooker with a deliciously simple mushroom and chicken stew that’s perfect for drenching mashed potatoes. Mushroom fan? No time to forage? This dish is a great way to show off the many and varied types at your supermarket. Each enjoys its own distinctively earthy flavour. Together, they’re always a delicious way to fill Half Your Plate!

Slow Cooker Mushroom & Spinach Stew

SERVES 4 TO 6

Ingredients

1 tablespoon (15 mL) of vegetable oil
6 or 8 chicken thighs, bone-in or boneless
2 or 3 pounds of assorted mushrooms (or a single favourite variety)
2 thinly sliced onions
1 head of thinly sliced garlic cloves
1/2 cup (125 mL) of sherry, madeira, marsala or port
2 cups (500 mL) of low-sodium chicken broth1 cup (250 mL) of cream
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) of salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
a 5-ounce tote of baby spinach

Splash the oil into a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Patiently brown the chicken thighs, turning until they’re thoroughly golden brown and delicious, 10 minutes or so. Place in your slow cooker. Dissolve any and all browned bits remaining in the pan with a splash of water and add to the works

Wash the mushrooms in lots of cool water. Don’t worry about them absorbing water, like most vegetables they’re already more than 90% water and like all vegetables they benefit from a quick wash.

Prep the mushrooms. Leave smaller ones whole. Larger ones can be halved, quartered or sliced. In all cases your goal is to retain as much of the mushroom’s natural form as possible. Show them off!

Pile the mushrooms, onions and garlic on top of the chicken. Pour in the sherry, broth and cream and season the works with salt, pepper and bay leaf.

Set your slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours. Walk away confidently, knowing that when you return a delicious meal awaits. Somewhere along the way, think about some mashed potatoes or biscuits.

Carefully fish out the meat. Ease out and remove any bones or cartilage bits. Reserve the meat for a moment. First stir the thyme and spinach into the stew then return the chicken. Enjoy as is or with the sides of your choice.

How To Twist!

This stew is amazing as is but only gets better over mashed potatoes, any rice, grain or legume, your favourite pasta or steaming noodles. My kids particularly love big-broad slurpy egg noodles in broths like this. You can try lots of different herbs in this stew. Stronger, bolder herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon and bay are all great choices for mushroom dishes. Lighter herbs tend to be overwhelmed. Many supermarkets offer lots of different mushroom types. Each is delicious in its own way and all are great choices for this recipe.

© Chef Michael Smith – halfyourplate.ca