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Chinese Chicken and Wild Mushroom Stew bakes in a thick gravy that, despite being dairy-free, is addictively creamy … and slightly ginger-spicy. Mostly hands-off, this easy nourishing meal is perfect for Paleo, Keto, AIP, GAPS, Whole30 and VAD.
My favorite dinners are cozy stews. Stew encourages a rich sauce or gravy and the healthy use of bone broth. Stews are also satisfying, and they digest well. Regarding this stew base, I can’t help standing over the stove top, eating it spoonful after spoonful!
Serve stew with a green salad and spooned over cauliflower rice, basmati rice (for gluten-free and VAD), mashed potatoes or mashed cauli. It feels like a feast — rich, saucy and flavorful with refreshing, colorful sides.
Add a crackling fire and the cold weather outside, and feel right jolly. 😉
Mushrooms are the crowning glory of this dish. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see all the wild mushrooms I get to choose from, the local ones available in Oregon right now. What treasures!
Use wild mushrooms in moderation in this recipe so it remains affordable. Or, exclude the wild mushrooms, and just use what works best for your lifestyle, more common mushrooms.
Dried mushrooms are also used in this sauce — they add a rich concentrated flavor and silky texture.
If you haven’t used dried mushrooms before, they’re easy to use! You can order them here; they simmer a bit, and then they’re ready to slice and use. (Easy.)
Plain crimini or button mushrooms are used, too, in this recipe, sautéed with ginger and garlic.
This recipe is mostly hands-off and easy, a relaxed recipe that my kids like me to double.
Sauce or Casserole
This stew can be made in one of two ways, whichever suits you best:
- Choose Option 1 in the recipe below if you want to make your mushroom sauce on the stove top. With this method, the chicken roasts separately. To serve, plate your favorite rice, cauli rice, mashed potatoes or mashed cauli. Top with mushroom gravy and roasted chicken. (The components are kept separate during cooking.)
- Choose Option 2 below if you want the saucy stew base to bake with the chicken in a casserole dish (as pictured). After the chicken and sauce are done baking, simply top your starch or cauliflower with the stew.
- Below the recipe in the Recipe Notes section, you’ll find a third option which is for those on the GAPS Diet, an extra gentle and high-fat way of cooking and serving the dish.
If you love nourishing stews like this one in general, I recommend you look into my newest cookbook, which shares 80 stews and soups — as well as seven secrets for making easy nourishing stews extra delicious and satisfying. Find the eCookbook + 5 bonus videos HERE, or find the paperback version on Amazon HERE.
Chinese Chicken & Wild Mushroom Stew
- casserole dish (optional)
- 2 to 4 pounds chicken , depending on how many you're feeding, whole legs or thighs preferred, bone in, skin on
- 4 cups crimini mushrooms , fresh, or shitake mushrooms, sliced (or a combination of both)
- 1-2/3 cups bone broth
- 1 cup wild mushrooms — oyster are nice (optional)
- 3/4 cup dried shitake mushrooms or one 1 oz. package
- 1/2 cup green onions thinly sliced, optional (omit for VAD)
- 1/4 cup duck fat separated into two 2 portions (or rendered tallow, lard, duck fat, sesame oil [not for AIP] or ghee [not for AIP])
- 4 cloves fresh garlic , crushed or minced
- 2 inch nub fresh ginger , grated or minced (about 2 Tablespoons)
- 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos (or 1 Tablespoon real fermented soy sauce for Keto/VAD)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey (omit for Whole30; use liquid low carb sweetener for Keto/Low Carb)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + more salt and pepper (omit pepper for AIP)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the dried mushrooms into a little pot. Add 1-1/2 cups water. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, covered. Watch them to prevent the liquid from evaporating during the last few minutes of cooking. Pour the mushrooms into a colander and rinse them well. When they are cool enough to handle, slice them and set aside.
- Meanwhile place 2 Tablespoons fat of choice in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat.
- Add the chicken legs, rolling them over in the fat to coat. Turn off the flame beneath the pan. Salt and pepper them to taste and roll them over again so they are well coated in fat, salt and pepper. (Alternately, cook the chicken in a casserole dish by heating dish and melting fat in preheating oven. Roll chicken in melted fat, then bake [as per directions below] in casserole dish.)
- Option 1 (stove top sauce): Place the pan in the preheated oven and roast the chicken until the chicken is cooked through, about 60 minutes, until juices run clear when meat is poked deeply to the bone with a knife.*Option 2 (casserole dish baked chicken with sauce included): Place the pan in the preheated oven and roast the chicken until the chicken is almost (not quite) cooked through, about 45 minutes. *If using Option 2 below (baking the chicken and sauce together in your casserole dish), use tongs to set chicken temporarily aside on a large plate after the 45 minutes.
- (For both options): While the chicken bakes, in a second medium size cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons fat.
- Add the rehydrated sliced mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, ginger, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Sauté 5 minutes. Then cover. Simmer over low heat for 5 additional minutes.
- Option 1 (stove top sauce): Add bone broth, coconut aminos, honey and apple cider vinegar to sautéed mushrooms. Stir to mix. Replace the lid and simmer over low heat for 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. After the cooking time has elapsed, spoon out about half the sauté mixture into a bowl. Allow it to cool slightly, while you keep the remainder warm in the covered pan. When it’s cooled to warm or medium-hot, place the mushrooms in your blender and purée on medium speed until smooth, about 50 seconds. Stir purée back into the sauté. Keep warm until the chicken is cooked through. Serve the roasted chicken on top of rice or potatoes or the cauli (low carb, grain-free) versions, depending on your diet or preference, smothered in sauce and garnished with optional green onions (not for VAD).
- *Option 2 (casserole dish baked chicken with sauce included): Pour any acumulated cooking juices and melted fats from baked chicken (casserole dish) into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add bone broth to the 1-2/3 cup line. (You won't use all of the bone broth called for in the Ingredients with this option.) Scoop about 1/2 of the sautéed mushroom mixture into blender. Add broth, coconut amino acids, apple cider vinegar and honey. Purée 30 seconds. Pour sauce back into sautéed mushroom pan, stirring to mix. Pour sauce into empty chicken baking dish. Add chicken thighs on top. Bake 25 to 30 additional minutes, until juices run clear when chicken is poked deeply with a knife. Serve chicken on top of sauce and rice or mashed potatoes or the cauli (low carb, grain-free) versions, depending on your diet or preference.
Gentle GAPS Variation
- Cook both the mushrooms and the chicken legs in the same covered pan on the stovetop, allowing the chicken to poach and the skin to stay soft. You may need two covered pans to allow enough room, placing the legs around the perimeter of the pan and the sautéeing mushrooms in the center where they can bubble away and be moved around from time to time.
- When the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes total over low heat, use a fork and knife to remove the soft skin, reserving it.
- Allow the skin to cool with 1/2 the mushroom mixture.
- When the mushrooms are puréed (step 8 above), add the skin to the blender as well, puréeing it in. (This technique is not only very GAPS-friendly, it also lends a gourmet creaminess to the sauce. No one will ever know it’s there, but it will add a delicious rich note to the dish. The photographs I’ve shown here of the recipe are the GAPS version of the sauce.)
- Continue with the recipe as it proceeds above.
How to reheat leftovers?
Like most stews, Chinese Chicken and Mushroom Stew reheats beautifully.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place leftovers in a casserole dish. Cover loosely with a piece of parchment paper or fitted lid. Reheat in oven for 25 minutes.
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days.
Wild mushrooms are expensive. You want them to stand out and be special.
Pro tip: To accentuate their unique shapes and flavors, sauté wild mushrooms separately, in a generous amount of fat with sea salt, using a lid to create steam, if you don’t want to purée them with the sauce. Top each portion of stew with the funky-shaped beauties.
Here are the local, wild mushrooms that my favorite locally owned market is selling right now. All Oregon grown.