This recipe is called ‘humpback’ because I didn’t know it would be especially memorable before I started cooking it. We watched the quite irresistible fillum Whale Rider on pay-per-view as we ate it, and I’ll always associate the two. Also, the stew is so good you’ll eat enough that you’ll feel an affinity with our cetacean neighbors.
Hungry and/or bibulous readers may be interested in my vernacular Guinness Beef Stew, also. Personally, I’d never prepare both at once, though. You gotta pick your fights.
2 highball glasses
Sharp kitchen knife
Heavy-duty, deep lidded pot (8-12 cup capacity)
Grooved microwave platter
Second medium pot
4 Gin Rickeys
5 oz Bombay Gin
7 oz Rose’s lime juice
1 fresh lime, sectioned
Humpback Chicken Stew
8 cloves garlic, peeled, and sliced or diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tbsp (or more) Italian herb mix (thyme, parsley, oregano, etc. Ascertain it’s herbs only, no added salt!)
1/2 – 3/4 cup small carrots, cut up into rounds
4 medium potatoes
1 cube boullion (veggie, chicken, or beef)
3 – 4 cups water
6 strips bacon
1 – 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken, cubed
1 can S & W ‘San Antonio’ beans (pinto beans, small red beans, Jalapeno peppers)
1 can S & W ‘Santa Fe’ beans (pinto beans, small red beans, yellow kernel corn, diced onion)
1 cup grape tomatoes
6 to 8 oz (half a bag) stew vegetables (frozen pearl onions, celery, carrots, etc.)
1 bag frozen kernel corn
1 bag frozen peas
Other fresh or frozen veggies as appropriate and to taste
Slice and chop vegetables and chicken as stated in ingredients. Set aside. This is to minimize knife handling while drinking.
Pour gin and Rose’s lime juice together into shaker full of ice. Shake vigorously. Set aside.
Prepare 2 highball glasses with ice and lime wedge. Set aside.
I chose to cut the bacon strips in half and microwave them on high for five minutes to begin the cooking process while allowing some of the bacon fat to be picked up by the paper towels I nuked them on. Non-nukers may proceed to the next step.
Heat heavy duty pot over medium high. As pot heats, cut half-cooked bacon into inch-square pieces and add to pot, watching carefully to keep from overheating (if the grease smokes, it’s too hot).
Serve Gin Rickeys. It’s assumed you’ll consume two as you cook and so will your partner, busy at the X-Box or web browser as the case may be.
When the bacon has crisped up and shed most of the grease, remove to layered paper towels. Dump most of the bacon grease, but coat the interior of the pot with it before discarding. Do not dump directly into drain unless you are a plumber, in which case you know better already. A can or old milk carton will do. Bachelors are encouraged to use empty beer cans scavenged from living room area.
Replace pot on medium heat burner. Add chopped garlic, and stir with wooden spoon. Observe cooking process and add olive oil as needed. When enough oil is engaged, add chopped onions as well. Salt and pepper generously. Drink from gin rickey.
When oil has coated garlic and onion and you can smell the pepper from the sauté, add Italian seasoning mix and stir. There should be enough that it looks like too much. The oil will cause it to cling to the garlic and onions, more or less coating them, but not clumping in the oil.
Add chopped carrots, stirring. Allow to sauté for five minutes.
Fend hungry partner off with second Gin Rickey or, if necessary, saltines. Water down the drink if they show obvious signs of drunkenness or hunger-induced irritability. Once they leave kitchen, rummage in fridge for a pickle or some olives.
Optionally, boil the cubed potatoes separately for about ten minutes before draining and adding to main pot.
Add three cups water and boullion cube. Turn heat to high. If chicken is not cubed yet, do so now. Add cubes to liquid. As liquid approaches boiling, add the beans and the other vegetables; if you’re adding frozen vegetables it will slow the time to boil.
Bring to rolling boil and add bay leaf. If you do not boil the potatoes separately, keep on low rolling boil for about ten minutes; otherwise, add potatoes, but not liquid, from other pot.
After boiling, turn heat down to simmer. If there’s not enough stock to your taste add water to suit. Cover, but leave lid ajar to prevent boil-over.
Adjourn to common room and consume the rest of the Rickeys. Allow the simmer to continue for at least half-an-hour, checking on pot continuously to prevent boill-off or boil-over. At a half-hour or more of simmer time, turn burner off and remove pot from heat. Cover tightly, and wait another half-hour to allow soup to cool.
Serve. I recommend beer as a beverage accompaniment.