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Scarborough Fair Chicken Stew

Chicken, Duck & Turkey

Scarborough Fair Chicken Stew

The second recipe in this blog inspired by Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair”. This chicken stew is cooked in apple cider and flavored with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Served it with Alex’s rosemary and garlic rolls. What a fantastic dinner we had last night!

Inspired by Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair, this chicken stew is cooked in apple cider and flavored with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

Yes, I am a fan of Simon & Garfunkel’s songs. I had a third grade teacher who taught us El Condor Pasa and I Am A Rock. From there, I discovered Homeward Bound, The Sound of Silence and Scarborough Fair. The latter is not a Simon & Garfunkel original but is based on an English ballad that has been around for centuries. The phrase “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” appears in the refrain.

No one I know has ever suggested that the combination of the four herbs be transposed from song to recipe. I just did on a whim. Once before in a baked rice dish and, again, last night with this chicken stew. Because… why not? The light fresh flavor of parsley, the warmness of sage, the piney flavor and aroma of rosemary and the subtly minty thyme make such a sublime combination.

Scarborough Fair Chicken Stew

This dish starts with bone-in chicken pieces that are seasoned, floured and browned in butter and olive oil.

In the remaining oil, chopped onion, garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are sauteed with the browned bits left behind from browning the chicken.

Scarborough Fair Chicken Stew

Apple cider (no, not apple cider vinegar) is poured in to deglaze, the browned chicken pieces are returned back to the pan, and wedges of carrot and bell pepper are thrown in. The heat is lowered, the pan is covered and everything is simmered for half an hour.

My Scarborough Fair chicken stew is subtly sweet and tangy with a superb aroma. Serve it with bread for mopping up the delicious sauce, or with rice on which to drizzle the sauce. Lovely, just lovely.

Scarborough Fair Chicken Stew
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Multiply the ingredients to cook a large pot of Scarborough chicken stew and serve it over the holidays! Make it a day or two ahead then reheat gently for even better flavor.

Servings: 3
Author: Connie Veneracion
  • 900 grams chicken pieces bone in and skin on
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil not extra virgin
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1 stalk parsley chopped
  • 2 sage leaves thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (leaves only) chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme (leaves only) chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups apple cider (NOT apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 large carrot cut into wedges
  • 1 large bell pepper cut into wedges
  1. Wipe the chicken pieces dry with paper towels.

  2. Place the chicken in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover the bowl and marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least two hours.

  3. Place the chicken in a resealable bag. Add the flour. Shake to coat each piece. Take the chicken out of the bag, shaking off excess flour.

  4. Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan. 

  5. Brown the chicken pieces just until a light crust forms. If your pan is not so wide, you may need to do this in batches. Scoop out the chicken as they brown and move to a plate.

  6. In the remaining oil, saute the onion, garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until softened and aromatic.

  7. Pour in the apple cider and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen bits stuck on it. Bring to a gentle boil.

  8. Return the chicken pieces to the pan. Scatter the carrot and bell pepper wedges over them.

  9. Cover the pan, lower the heat and cook the chicken for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken pieces). Taste the sauce halfway through the cooking time and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

  10. To serve, place three or four chicken pieces in a bowl. Ladle sauce around them. Add carrot and bell pepper wedges. Optionally, garnish with a sprig or two of rosemary and a bit of chopped parsley.

Inspired by Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair, this chicken stew is cooked in apple cider and flavored with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

Cook, crafts enthusiast, photographer (at least, I'd like to think so!), researcher, reviewer, story teller and occasional geek. Read more about me, the cooks and the name of the blog.

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