It all started when I was sick with the flu....
I could do very little besides lay around, cross-my-fingers that the kids behaved, and watch (horror of horrors!) DAY TIME TV!!!! It was there - on The Rachel Ray show - that I learned about Winter White Chicken Stew, and I couldn't wait to make it.
When I was feeling like a normal human being again (FINALLY!!), I wrote down the ingredients and headed to the store. Little did I know, it would take trips to 3 different stores to finally locate a fennel bulb. And when I finally found one, it was organic, very small (so I had to buy two) and cost $2.99 each!! OK, so it's the middle of winter in Minnesota, I was buying out of season AND organic - so what did I expect?
That reminds me of an interesting discovery. My annual budget tracking showed that I spent about 10% more on groceries than I did last year. Now that might not seem outrageous but for a single-income household it does make a difference. And the inflation rate is only about 3%, right? So, I guess it's all this healthy, organic food I've been buying that's been busting my budget.
Have you noticed some of the price creep lately? Organic milk is up to almost $7.00 a gallon in some stores and my fav Stoneyfield Farm yogurt is now up to $3.99. I'm having to cut back a bit on the spending free-for-all and it SUCKS! (either that or I need to get a job!)
Back to the fennel bulb...don't be turned off by the bland color of this stew - it does nothing to promote the vibrant flavors within it - sweet fennel (with only a subtle hint of anise), salty green olives and bright fresh lemons. It's fabulous!!
A final note:
I used less chicken (only 2 pounds instead of 3.5) than the recipe called for and because I'm not a parsley fan, I garnished with chopped up fennel fronds...couldn't let any of that precious fennel go to waste now, could I?