Cranberries add tartness to this hearty ragout

Special to Washington PostMarch 25, 2014 


Root Vegetable and Chicken Ragout With Dried Cranberries.


Cranberries bring a tart element, apple cider adds sweetness and cumin provides earthiness in this hearty winter stew.

As do most stews, this one tastes even better after a day’s refrigeration.

Serve with noodles or country bread.

Root Vegetable and Chicken Ragout With Dried Cranberries

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (large ones cut in half; small ones left whole), trimmed of excess fat

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup diced onion

3 tablespoons flour

8 ounces parsnips, scrubbed well and cut into 1/2-cubes

8 ounces carrots, scrubbed well and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

8 ounces rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/2 cups apple cider

1 1/2 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth

1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries, coarsely chopped

POSITION an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven; preheat to 325 degrees.

COMBINE cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Lay chicken out on a large piece of aluminum foil or a platter. Generously sprinkle chicken pieces on both sides with the cumin spice mix.

HEAT 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil shimmers, add half of the chicken, taking care not to crowd the pieces. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turning the pieces once or twice, until they brown and lose their raw look. Transfer to a clean plate; add remaining chicken to the skillet and repeat the process.

HEAT remaining tablespoon of the oil in a 4-quart Dutch oven or ovenproof saucepan over medium-high heat. Once oil shimmers, add onion and a pinch of salt; reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft but not browned. Stir in flour; cook for about 2 minutes, stirring.

ADD cubed parsnip, carrot and rutabaga along with the cider, broth, cranberries and cooked chicken, plus any accumulated juices. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Once mixture starts to bubble, cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve hot.

Per serving: 310 calories, 21 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 80 mg cholesterol, 300 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 21 g sugar

Yield: 6 servings (makes about 8 cups)

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