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Country Chicken Stew

13 reviews / 4.6 average

A cozy, hearty, humble bowl of this Country Chicken Stew is waiting for you! Chicken, thick-cut bacon, navy beans, veggies, and fresh herbs all simmering in one big pot. It’s a good one, friends!

The Soup Series banner.

Hello hello and welcome to soup town! We’re so glad you’re here. We’re easing into The Soup Series with a warm, rustic, cozy country chicken stew that will slow you down and fill you up in all the very best ways.

Our first soup is a love letter to slow food and an absolute stunner: juicy chicken cooked right in the stew, shredded piles of cabbage and chomps of tender carrot, almost creamy beans, and a rich, smoky broth thanks to a bacon, onion and garlic build. We’re here for all of it.

So, this isn’t necessarily like a hectic Tuesday kind of soup, it’s a little more involved. Think more of a slow-quiet Sunday kind of soup. A zen at the end of a long week Friday night dinner. An evening when you just want some quiet time in the kitchen sort of meal. It will take you a bit to bring it together, with a little bit of pre-planning involved (there’s a bean-soak situation coming your way, please trust us), but don’t be mad. Every single step will be worth it.

Chicken stew in a bowl with a spoon.

What Goodness Is In This Chicken Stew?

Longer on time, yes, but the ingredient list is pretty simple and for that, we are #blessed.

  • whole chicken (about 4lbs)
  • dried navy beans
  • bacon
  • onion, garlic & herbs
  • water
  • carrots & cabbage for veggie goodness
  • a swoop of red wine vinegar or squeeze of lemon to finish.

How To Make This Chicken Stew Happen

Are we in a fight? Bean-soaking?!

Yes. Okay, sure you *could* use a can of beans. We tried it. It works. But listen, there is something so special about using fresh beans and yes that involves soaking them first for a good long while. So you will have to remember in the morning, or even better the night before, to put them in some water. But that’s it! Just put them in there, give a little side-eye if you’re a teensy bit upset about this extra step, and then walk away! Don’t even think about them. We promise the richness and thickness and texture (they hold up better than canned) delivered in this stew is so A+ 100 WE WOULD NOT LIE.

We prefer paper-thin slices of onion and garlic for this one, just because it makes everything feel a little more texturally pleasing, but you could certainly do a rough chop of those if that’s more your style.

Get those going with some smoky bacon – and please note, the thicker cut bacon holds up better and turns into the most delectable little meaty bits in the final stew. If you don’t have that though, the regular thin-sliced totally works and you can just pull out any squigglers at the end before serving if it becomes a texture issue. It’s really all about the flavor depth it brings from the start.

And then we just plopped a whole ding dang chicken in there.

It truly is the most foolproof way to cook a whole chicken. You can’t mess it up. And the richness that using the whole bird brings to the broth is truly unsurpassed. Do it and do it now. We promise the little guy will cook in an hour.

  1. Pre-soak your beans (4-12 hours).
  2. Sauté bacon, onion, and garlic.
  3. Plop in the beans and the seasoned bird (just a salt & pepp rub under the skin if you can manage).
  4. Toss in a little herb bundle, tied up for easy removal.
  5. Cover with water, then lid it and walk away.
  6. When chicken is done, pull out and shred. Add half of the shredded chicken back into the stew. Reserve the other half for some yums later in the week or toss in the freezer!
  7. Add carrots and cabbage and cook until soft.
  8. Top with some more fresh herbs and a little swish of something acidic to bring it to life.
Chicken stew in a bowl with a spoon and garlic herb butter bread.

Delicious, Humble, and So Cozy

Listen, coming hot off the SOS series, the process might feel a little extra here, but SO IS THE FLAVOR.

The texture and heartiness, the almost creamy thickness of the broth thanks to the dried beans and the whole chicken, the piles of veggies, the bread dips that are so very welcome to pass through here (hello no knead bread anyone?). We really can’t stop making this one – even with that whole bean-soaking thing.

So, though it might be a bit of a jaunt from the quick weeknight dinner path, we swear every patient second will be rewarded with a house filled with the warmest of warms while you breathe in the change of season with a humble little bowl of deep rich cozy deliciousness.

Country Chicken Stew: FAQs

Can you freeze this stew?

Absolutely! Just make sure to freeze it in a freezer-safe container or bag.

How can I make this soup extra creamy?

It’s a pretty creamy soup as-is – the beans let off a bit of starch that really adds to the lusciousness. If you wanted to add a splash of cream though, go for it!

Could I use chicken breasts or thighs instead of a whole chicken?

In a pinch, yes, you could definitely shred up some chicken breasts or thighs. If you have the time though, this is the perfect recipe for a whole chicken. SO much flavor comes from it a whole chicken that you don’t quite get from chicken breasts or thighs.

Can this be made in the Instant Pot?

Sure can! See Instant Pot instructions in the recipe notes.


Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

Source Notes: This recipe was inspired by a French bean and chicken stew in the book Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes (affiliate link) – reading his description about making this in the French countryside sent me straight into the kitchen with a glass of wine and a big soup pot to channel all the country chicken stew vibes. Jamie’s recipe uses the bean soak method which I was unsure about at first, but it really does make the texture of the soup and broth so awesome. According to his notes, you can sub chicken thighs for the whole chicken, but this is a really great (read: easy) gateway into cooking a whole chicken if that’s something that you’re looking to add to your repertoire (not to mention getting some life-changingly delicious broth out of the deal).

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A picture of Country Chicken Stew

Country Chicken Stew


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 generous servings 1x

Description

A cozy, hearty, humble bowl of this Country Chicken Stew is waiting for you! Chicken, thick-cut bacon, navy beans, veggies, and fresh herbs all simmering in one big pot. It’s a good one, friends! 


Ingredients

Units Scale

Country Chicken Stew

  • 8 ounces (half a pound) dried navy beans
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into very small pieces
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • thyme, bay leaf, and parsley (tie them together for easy removal)
  • 1 whole chicken (rub some salt under the skin ahead of time, if you think of it!)
  • water to cover
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • one-third of a head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • lemon or red wine vinegar to finish
  • parsley or any other herbs to finish

Instructions

  1. Cover the beans with water and soak for 4-12 hours.
  2. Heat the bacon, onion, and garlic over medium high heat. Sauté until everything is very soft and flavorful, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and herbs to the pot, and place the whole chicken on top of everything. Cover with water. Throw in the salt, put a lid on, and let it simmer for about an hour.
  4. After an hour, take the chicken out and transfer to a large plate or cutting board to cool. Skim the top of the soup pot for any weird-looking foam. Pull out the herbs. Add carrots and cabbage and let the whole thing keep cooking to get those veggies softened.
  5. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the chicken meat off and cut / shred into bite-sized pieces. I usually add half of the chicken back to the pot and then save the other half for something else delicious later in the week. Squeeze a little lemon juice in there or hit it with a splash of red wine vinegar to finish. Serve with extra herbs if you want, and definitely get a piece of hot crusty bread slathered with that amazing garlic herb butter ready for some dunking. Oh my goodness, what a beauty. You’ve arrived.

Notes

Garlic Herb Butter: Soften a stick of butter. Mix with a clove of grated garlic, herbs, and salt and pepp to taste. Place back in the fridge to hang out until you’re ready for it. Slather on whatever kind of bread you like and dunk away.

Instant Pot Instructions: Pre-soak your beans for 4 hours. Using the Sauté function, cook the bacon, onion, and garlic in the Instant Pot for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the beans and herbs to the pot and place the whole chicken on top of everything. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken or almost cover it, depending on the size of your Instant Pot. Add in the salt. Place the lid on, and set the timer to cook on manual mode for 25 minutes. Let the steam release naturally. Take out the chicken to chop or shred. Pull out the herbs. Add in the carrots and cabbage. Add the shredded chicken back to the pot and give everything a good stir. Let the soup sit for a few minutes until the cabbage and carrots soften.  

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chicken soup, chicken stew, country stew

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45 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This appears to be the same chicken stew recipe I’ve always known! Except that the ones I’ve had in the past have always had rice in them. Do you think I could add rice or would any of the liquids need to be adjusted? Thank you for sharing the recipe, Lindsay!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Elle! Great question. I think you could add rice, but since we haven’t tested a version like this, I’m not certain on liquid amounts or at which point you’d add it in. I’d try to add in the last 15 minutes.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Mary

      I came here to ask the same thing. I’d love instructions on how to do this in the Instant Pot.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Brooke

    If using the Instant Pot, are the beans soaked or raw when they’re added? I’ve always heard that the IP works magic on beans, but I’m not sure, from your instructions, whether they’re cooked first or not.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Barbara! We haven’t tested this one in the crockpot, so it’s hard to say. If you want to give it a try, make sure your crockpot will fit a whole chicken! Additionally, we’d recommend sauteing the onions, garlic, and bacon before adding to the pot. If you give it a try, we’d love to hear back!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nicole

    How important is the bacon to the flavor and mouth feel of the recipe? We don’t eat pork. If it really “makes” the recipe, any suggested substitutes?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      We think the bacon adds a really nice smoky flavor to the stew. You could try 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika as a substitute! Add it in when you’re sauteing the onion and garlic.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Christine Stephansen

    Made this using the Instant Pot. Here are some suggestions that I would do next time…use a 3 pack of thighs and one breast (I get my chicken from TC Farms). While I understand the flavor idea behind using a whole chicken, the IP cooks it so well that separating the bones is pretty difficult. Thighs=less bones. There are only two of us so I have a lot of chicken to make/eat this week (with the other half of the chicken). To add flavor due to less bones maybe add a can of chicken broth to the water to cover the chicken.
    I had to put the IP back on for the carrots to cook – no problem – 3 minutes did it, but I wish I hadn’t added the cabbage at the same time as the carrots. The cabbage was over cooked. So next time, add carrots, cook then throw in the cabbage and let that sit for 5 minutes or so.
    The beans were a nice touch, they added a little bit of thickening, but not much. Might use more beans next time. Also, I just used dried spices and I thought it was flavorful.
    Overall, a good dinner. Makes a lot! I’ll probably be freezing a few portions.






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Thanks for the feedback on the Instant Pot version, Christine! Glad you enjoyed the stew!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Barbie

    I’m making this right now I am so excited to eat it! I bought my IP specifically to cook dried beans but today, after 3 years, I’m using it to do this for the first time. Crossing my fingers because I only soaked the beans for 2 hours! Thanks for all your amazing recipes! I consult your website multiple times a week and have yet to be disapointed.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lauren

    I am assuming that I could sub cannellini beans for the navy? I have some dried ones that I have been trying to find a use for. Also, I grabbed some coleslaw mix for the carrots and cabbage at the end. I’ll report back how it works.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lauren

    Yum! My beans needed to cook a good bit after I took out the kitchen, and I added a few shakes of herbes de Provence while they cooked down. I used coke slaw mix for the cabbage and carrots, which worked out perfectly for me as I don’t love chunks of carrot in my soup. I’m looking forward to having some servings of this stashed in my freezer!






  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Shannon

    This is the first meal I’ve wanted to make in over a year since being diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Wow! So delicious!! Hoping that this healing recipe will jumpstart my continued healing.

    I did omit the bacon in favor of poultry seasoning sprinkled in at the end. Wouldn’t change another thing!






  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Cassie

    Made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I used turkey bacon and added a splash of olive oil while sautéing with the onions and garlic and it worked well and gave a great smoky flavor. I also did opt for canned beans and they worked well but would definitely do the dry next time, I ended up simmering for an extra 20 min or so to reduce the liquid a bit so keep that in mind if you go with the canned beans!






  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Shelby Gilliatt

    I’m sad to say this was a disappointment. Maybe if there was a specified amount of water that would help. It just tasted very bland to us. I added some herbs de provence after reading some comments and that helped a bit. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly.






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Sorry to hear that, Shelby. Did you add in the salt? Or the squeeze of acidity (lemon or vinegar) at the end? That really helps to amp up the flavor! We appreciate the feedback!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this in the instant pot. this recipe is delicious!
    I skipped the cabbage and added some spelt pasta in the end. My toddler had 2 servings!
    Thank you for this recipe. It’s gonna be on repeat this winter 🙂






  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lindsay

    I have to say, I followed this recipe to the letter and this is truly the best soup (stew) I have ever made. It’s going into our fall/winter rotation for sure! Thank you so much

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      We’re thrilled to hear this, Lindsay! Thanks so much for the comment!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    We LOVED this. I had dill on hand so also threw some of that in, along with some kale we needed to use up, and we topped with some fresh grated parm. Served with garlic/rosemary bread with a lemon/dill/black pepper compound butter. So hearty without being heavy.