When Cathrene told me that she had ordered a Wonderbag to try, I was so excited. Not just because it meant that I could try out our new pumpkin dish (Le Creuset – a once-in-a-lifetime investment!), but because it would give me the opportunity to try out a new recipe. I’ve loved to cook ever since I was young, I would help my mum by chopping vegetables and stirring the pot! Despite my love of cooking, I’ve never made a stew! My boyfriends Mums Beef stew and dumplings is by far my favourite meal, but I’ve never tried to make it myself.
Cath is on a “energy saving” mission at the moment (mind you, given the energy price increases of late, we are both keen to curb our usage!), so this was something that she was really keen to try, having seen videos on TikToK and friends reviews on Facebook.
Cath doesn’t eat red meat, so we’d only have chicken or vegetable stew anyway. However I have a huge fear of raw chicken, so unless it’s ‘roast in the bag’ I tend to give it a very wide berth! For me, cooking with raw chicken tends to be more hassle than its worth as I end up spending the majority of the time panicking that the chicken juices are everywhere which results in me having to clean everywhere every 2 seconds…. It takes out the relaxation that I get from cooking.
Anyway, enough about my strange relationship with chicken. When Cath told me that we were to receive a Wonderbag, we immediately began to research slow-cooker meals. I watched a lot of videos of people using the Wonderbag and was so intrigued about how it works, I was really excited to use it!
With the weather getting cooler, we settled on a chicken stew.
Once we found a recipe, we set to buying our ingredients, obviously we got our veg from our local veg shop. We started buying our fruit and vegetables from there during lockdown and haven’t looked back since.
I found a simple chicken stew recipe online, then tweaked it a little to what we had/wanted to use. Cath wanted to put in leeks and marmite (I’m still apprehensive about this addition but she has agreed to take sole responsibility for the outcome) so that’s what we added. I suppose the good thing about stew is its versatility.
As it was my first time making stew, I kept it super basic, but next time I might add different vegetables or beans etc.
Our ingredients (serves 2):
- 3 medium potatoes, I peeled ours, but you could leave them with the skin on.
- 2 large carrots, also peeled.
- 3 cloves of garlic (Always measure garlic with your heart!)
- 1/2 Leek
- 1/2 Brown onion, Totally depends on the size of your onion. Ours was massive!
- 2 1/2 Chicken breasts
- 2 Bay leaves
- Handful of parsley
- Chicken stock (to cover veg and chicken in pot, use as much or as little as your pot will allow)
- 2 tbsp plain flour to make slurry to thicken your stew
- 1 tsp marmite
- 1 Tbsp olive oil to cook chicken
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut chicken breasts in half and put in pot with 1 tbsp Olive oil.
- Brown chicken and remove from pot. Put aside in bowl.
- Add chopped onions, carrots, potatoes, leek and garlic to pot and cook for 5 minutes.
- Put chicken back in pan and add 3/4 chicken stock, along with your bay leaves.
- Add plain flour to remaining chicken stock and whisk until no lumps, this is your ‘slurry’.
- Add slurry to pot and stir.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Let pot come to a boil (all liquid is bubbling) and put on lid.
- Now Put your pot into your Wonderbag. I put a towel in ours but you don’t have to.
- Pull drawstring tight around your pot, put on the lid and leave for a few hours. I left ours for around 5 but you can leave it for less if you like. As long as your chicken and veg is cooked, you’re good to go!
- Before serving, add your parsley and stir.
- You could add dumplings, and pop your stew in the oven to crisp them up. You could also add some garlic bread for dipping!
- Enjoy your stew!!
I overestimated the size of our pot, so whatever veg I had left over, I have chopped and put into a tub for next time. I did the same with the chicken that I had leftover too. I might freeze this, depending on how soon we want more stew.
I obliterated the chicken so that there is no veins, cartilage or fat (told you- for me, raw chicken is a pain!) and put it on to boil to feed our furry friends. They also enjoyed the ends and the peelings from the carrots- It’s very important to keep your kitchen supervisors fed!
Now I’ve made one stew, I’ll hopefully have the confidence to “wing” the next one and add different vegetables/beans etc.
Update now that the stew has been made… and eaten!
I left the stew until 6pm, so It had been cooking for around 6.5 hours. When I say left, I mean I didn’t take it from the bag. I did however stand looking over it frequently throughout it’s ‘cooking time’ and cackling like a witch over my cauldron… Maybe that’s the influence of the new Hocus Pocus film, who knows!
It was a really busy day, so knowing that there would be a hot meal at the end of it was really exciting! Especially as I’d conveniently forgotten the effort that had gone into preparing the veg and chicken beforehand! I’m sure this will take less time the more I get used to using the Wonderbag! When 6pm came, I undid the bag to be greeted with the most wonderful smell of hearty chicken stew! The pot was still hot, and when I lifted the lid, the food was piping! I don’t know why I was surprised…. It just blew my mind a little.
The stew was perfectly cooked, I added in some dumplings and popped the pot into the oven to crisp them up. You don’t have to do this, but it does make it even better! We loved it and made a second pot of stew for the next day! I’m so excited to try out a whole range of recipes in the Wonderbag! Next time I think I might change up how I make my vegetable curry or chilli!
You can buy your Wonderbag here.