One of my favorite things in this entire world is chicken stew. It's warm, creamy, full of chicken & I absolutely love it! The best chicken stew I've ever had is from a little restaurant in my hometown of Spartanburg, SC, called Holden's Ranch. I worked there for a short while years ago & while I wasn't able to get the exact recipe from working there, I have been able to come close. Here's my version of a hometown favorite, Holden's chicken stew.
First start with a whole baked chicken (baked yourself or pick one up from the grocery store). You'll also need 3 cans of evaporated milk, approx. 1 quart of milk, 1 onion, 2 chicken bullion cubes, 1/2 can of cream of chicken soup, 2 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp. of salt & pepper, & a few dashes of paprika. Pick the entire chicken of all the meat you can find on it. Place it in a bowl & squeeze the chicken it your hands till it becomes soft & shredded. This is a key part to making Holden's chicken stew, getting the chicken as fine as possible. In a large pot saute the onion in the 2 tbsp. of butter till the onions are translucent & tender. Add the 3 cans of evaporated milk, 1 quart of milk, & the 2 chicken bouillon cubes. Let all these ingredients simmer on low for 20 min stirring constantly till the milk mixture is hot. Then add the chicken & the seasonings. Continue to let the stew simmer for 10 min. Then lastly add the 1/2 can of cream of chicken soup. You could surely add the whole can if you want a thicker, creamer stew. Since Holden's is thin, that's the way I prefer to have mine. :) Cover & let the stew simmer another 10 min. on low-medium heat to let all the flavors marry. Once you've reached your desired temperature, you should have the "one of a kind" taste that could only come from Holden's, but instead came from your own kitchen!
I've recently moved from Spartanburg & have messed around with this recipe trying to get it just right. I feel I have come as close as I'll ever be to my hometown favorite. A big bowl of this chicken stew, with some saltines, & a few dashes of hot sauce make me feel right at home- away from home.
*Updated recipe- Add 1 tbsp of sugar to give the stew a little sweetness! Also, I don't always need 2 chicken bouillon cubes, nor the cream of chicken soup & sometimes I use more evaporated milk and less regular milk. And today I'm boiling a whole chicken instead of using a baked one. With all my cooking experiences I change things up according to what I have or what I think will taste best at that time. Another good tip to remember is to keep the temperature low once bringing it up to a simmer. The stew will burn easily if it gets too hot.
**And... I've added a picture of our finished product!