Sunday, August 09, 2009

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Today I had a surpise visit from someone I became friends with when I lived in the open ward looney bin that was the City of Berkeley. By now it might be a very sane place. Back then there were mentally ill people wandering the streets, having been released to the community by then Governor Ronald Reagan (before he became President) who felt that mental health was a 'neighborhood problem', which is what it became in time. The politics were a bit nutty, too. Good news is I learned to think crazy which has come in handy in later life more often than one might expect.

It took guts and good will for this friend from long ago to drive up the highway and show up. We have been on the outs for a few years. This is an exceedingly rare thing for me so I've probably behaved badly in the process. Hugs were exchanged and we talked and laughed. I'm glad she came. Sometimes doors you thought you have shut spring open again unexpectedly.

When she arrived I had just begun to make a chicken dish for dinner. This is the kind of dish you can usually make with ingredients that your have on hand in your pantry and freezer. Veggies from your garden or from the market or farmer's market work well in this stew. For seasoning not only did I saute' lots of onions and some celery and chopped carrots, but I added flat leaf parsley, dried sage, rosemary and thyme, plus some pepper. Brought back the old song and that seemed appropriate somehow.

This made a nice stew with lots of veggies, some of which cooked with the chicken and some were added toward the end of cooking. I like my stew with a thickened broth, but you could serve it as is, although it might be more of a stew or chowder that way. With a few slices of the chunky zucchini bread we had a fine, easy meal.

Hope you had a great weekend! My your surprises be as welcome as mine was.

Scarborough Fair Chicken Stew
Serves 4

1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf or Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken broth
4 boneless skiness chicken breasts, cut in large dice (bite sized pieces)
1 large or 2 medium Idaho type potatoes, cut in cubes about 1/2 inch across, peeled if you like
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh or frozen corn off the cob
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, in bite sized pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
enough flour and water in a slurry to thicken the broth, as desired

Saute' the onions, carrots and celery in the olive oil until the onions are transluscent, about 5 minutes, stirring every so often.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chicken broth, pieces of chicken, cubes of potatoes and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.
Add the corn, beans, and peas and stir to combine well. Cover and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes, until the beans are almost tender.
If you are thickening your stew, add the slurry and stir well to combine, then keep stirring until the broth thickens and begins to bubble. Serve hot.
You can use more and different vegetables to reflect what you have on hand or in the garden or from the farmer's market, but this combo was very tasty!

Here is the song from the title:

Are you goin to Scarborough fair? parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

Without no seams nor needlework, then she'll be a true love of mine

Tell her to find me an acre of land, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

Between the salt water and the sea strand, then she'll be a true love of mine

Tell her to reap it in a sickle of leather, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

And to gather it all in a bunch of heather, then she'll be a true love of mine

Are you goin to Scarborough fair? parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine


  1. Surprise ... yours sounds like a true happy surprise.
    The stew looks perfect to share especially with those herbs. I'd go for the thickened broth like you did.

  2. What a name for a stew! It is full of flavours that I love!

  3. Green, white, orange.
    The Irish national colours, how fitting. :)

  4. Sounds wonderful...both the stew and the return of a friendship:)