Eating on a Student Budget: One-Pot Chicken Stew

My love of cooking all started a couple of years back when I made stroganoff for the first time, the recipe of which I retrieved from a good old BBC Good Food webpage.

Looking back, the double cream in the recipe probably meant an average serving was a good few hundred calories, but using about half a bottle of ketchup in the sauce (this tip I got from a Brazilian because that’s “how his mum made it”) meant a plate of my trusty stroganoff was pretty damn unhealthy. Despite the unattractive and slightly worrying groans my stomach would make after a plate of said stroganoff, I probably made it on a weekly basis for about a year after that. I’ve come a long way since then, folks.

I’ve always been a massive foodie, as you can probably gather from here. And here, too. And whadd’ya know, ‘ere aswell. Anyway, since starting uni last year and having to adjust my mad spending to fit into a student budget, I had to learn how to cook the meals I wanted without having to spend a bomb on the recipe. It was a challenge at first, but I’ve learned the best ways to do this. Firstly, shop local. Supermarket prices for certain food products are a lot higher than grocery and meat markets. I tend to get the basics and essentials from the supermarket, but when I need specific ingredients such as vegetables or meat, I find that getting these from the market is way, way cheaper. Luckily, I live just around the corner from Moor Market in Sheffield, which makes shopping on a budget nice and easy. Secondly, it’s really helpful to cook large portions of a recipe and freeze it in plastic containers. That way, you always have food in the house, and you’re getting your money’s worth. This especially applies to the following recipe; one batch of the stew has given me five portions in total. And lastly, it’s really helpful to have a list of the specific ingredients you need when you go shopping. It’s hard at first, but simply getting what you need and nothing else saves so much money in the long run.

Warm your cockles this winter with this bangin’ recipe. You’d be STEWpid not to.

Specific i
ngredients & what I paid:
– Two chicken legs (£1.99)
– 5 white potatoes (47p)
– Plain flour (95p)
– Stew mix from Iceland consisting of 5 carrots, a small white onion, a small leek and a turnip (£1)

Already had in the cupboard (Tesco prices):
– Knorr vegetable stock cubes (£1)
– Sunflower oil (80p)
Sea salt (80p)
– Black pepper (70p)
Grand total = £7.71 (with plenty of ingredients left over)

1. Peel the potatoes, three carrots and the onion. Cut into chunks. Cut the leek in half lengthways and finely chop into small pieces. Put the potato chunks onto a separate plate.
2. Cut the meat from the chicken legs, discarding the skin. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Pour about a tablespoon of oil into the pot. Heat on a medium-high heat and cook the chicken pieces for 5 minutes until lightly browned on either side. Place cooked chicken onto plate.
4. Pour another teaspoon of oil into the pot and throw in the chopped onion, leek and carrots. Stir every now and then and cook for 5 minutes. In the meantime, boil 4.5 cups (around 1000ml) of water and pour into a measuring jug. Sprinkle in a vegetable stock cube and mix. (I just added the water bit by bit since my measuring jug is tiny.)
5. Pour around 100ml of broth (water & stock) into the pot and stir.
6. In a bowl, mix together 2tbsp of flour and 150ml of broth. Pour into pot.
7. Pour chicken pieces into pot and add the rest of the broth. Add salt & pepper (to taste) and bring to a boil. Afterwards, reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for 25 minutes with the pot partially covered.
8. Add the potatoes and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
9. Pour into a bowl with some crusty bread on the side and enjoy.



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