Chicken Stew with Sage and Bacon

This is a very flavorful stew because the chicken liver gives it depth. Be sure to saute the chicken pieces over medium-high heat. This will render as much fat as possible from the skin, which is then discarded. The chicken breasts need to be halved in order to provide uniform pieces for cooking. Serve this dish with mashed potatoes.–Christopher Kimball

LC Stew Versus Stewed Note

Not to be impolite or anything, but we take exception to the title of this recipe. In our minds, there’s a distinction between stew and stewed. The former is a noun and denotes chunks of meats and vegetables and aromatics suspended in a rich homemade stock. The latter is a verb and conveys the manner in which meat is cooked, essentially describing a braise of some sort that’s uber tender and cloaked in, again, a rich homemade stock, but this one has been gently coaxed to a silken luxuriousness. We gotta say, to us this dish is more stewed than stew.

While we’re coloring outside the lines here, this recipe calls for a whole chicken cut into pieces. Not telling you what to do, but just saying that you could, if you so desire, swap a single bone-in, skin-on part for the miscellany of cuts—thighs, breasts, wings, drums—that comes with the entire hen.

Regardless of whether you use thighs or breasts or a combo, and despite whether you consider the recipe stew or stewed, the inclusion of chicken liver and smoked bacon will see to it that the resulting stew will have crazy complexity. Promise.

Chicken Stew with Sage and Bacon Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 1 H, 20 M
  • Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon, minced
  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 10 pieces (each breast should be cut in half), liver reserved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 1 3/4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced sage leaves


  • 1. Heat a large, heavy, preferably cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crisp. Drain the bacon bits on paper towels.
  • 2. Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons bacon drippings from the pot and reserve for another use. Add the chicken pieces, working in batches if necessary, and cook until deeply browned on all sides. (You want to render as much of the fat from the skin as possible.) Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • 3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pat and discard. Add the onion and the finely chopped chicken liver and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and 1/3 cup wine and stir to coat the chicken. Add the remaining 1/3 cup wine and the chicken stock and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the chicken pieces and bacon bits to the skillet. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the thighs register 165°F (75°C) on an instant-read thermometer.
  • 4. Add the sage and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and cover to keep warm. If desired, strain the cooking liquid into a fat separator or pour it into a glass measuring cup and let it set a few minute before pouring or spooning off the fat that rises to the top. Return the defatted cooking liquid to the pot.
  • 5. Simmer the cooking liquid, still over medium heat, until thickened to a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes. If desired, remove the skin from the chicken pieces. Return the chicken to the pot and turn to coat with the sauce. Serve at once.
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