Chicken Stew

It has been a long standing tradition to make a year’s worth of chicken stew on Labor Day with my dad’s family.   I don’t exactly know how long standing, but for as long as I can remember we have participated in this crazy ritual.   This year, some folks were busy on Labor Day, so we postponed it until today.   This actually worked out well because usually it is 100 degrees, and when you add the cooking flames, it is just hot.  But today was nice and cool and we could all stand around the pot to get warm.

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It probably looks odd to the neighbors (and now you).  At 8:00 am we begin gathering around a giant witch pot sized pot and dump in all of the ingredients.  It gets stirred with a giant oar.   It has to be stirred continuously, so my dad and his brothers take turns at the oar.

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This was Piglet’s first Chicken Stewing experience.   She had to be told 546 times that it was hot.  (as if the flames didn’t give that little fact away).   Here she is with my aunt – you can see her forming the word “HOT”.  But even with the multiple warnings and the visual giant flames, she kept running full speed at the giant pot.  I guess that’s why she and Curious George are kindred spirits.   It’s a miracle she escaped without any burns.  Good thing she was distracted by the mud and puddles and rocks.

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Once the stew is done stewing, we get to eat.   Our tradition is to enjoy the stew with several loaves of white bread (the good kind that has no nutritional value whatsoever), though there are some relatives by marriage who use saltines.   weirdos.  This year’s batch was especially yummy.  There are a lot of ingredient amounts that are guestimates (eh…a handful and a half of pepper looks right and if we run the hose for 10.5 seconds, that should be enough water…eh, looks about right), so every year it comes out a little different.

Once we’ve had our fill and the stew has had some time to cool, we ladle it out into many containers so we can enjoy the awesomeness anytime we want.  It’s really good in the winter when it’s been a long day and you just don’t feel like cooking.  One of those quality comfort foods.

Hooray for Chicken Stew Day.


One Response

  1. what a fabulous tradition! glad piglet was ok. connor would have run for the hot flames too. gotta love curious toddlers. my tummy is growling just thinking of the stew!

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