Mrs. Dornberger’s Chicken Stew

Mrs. Dornberger’s Chicken Stew

We're an affiliate

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links.

This chicken stew recipe is so delicious.  I was skeptical as I read through this recipe for one sentence Mrs. Dornberger wrote in the recipe: “Do not add water unless to prevent burning.”  There is no liquid in this stew, unless you count tomato sauce as liquid.  When I planned to make this recipe, I was going to use my slow cooker.  I had all the ingredients and was all prepped to brown the chicken and toss it into the slow cooker, but life happened and I didn’t have time before I went to work.  Luckily, I have an Instant Pot that saved the day after work.

I made this chicken stew all in the Instant Pot.  I started with the saute function and added a little olive oil and browned the chicken in batches.  One thing I will note is that if you chose not to use a whole chicken cut up, make sure you buy chicken with the bone in and skin on.  I don’t think boneless skinless meat would create as nicely flavored stew.

Once the chicken was browned, put in the onion and garlic and let them cook for a few minutes.  After that I added the chicken back in, the bay leaf, green bell peppers, about a tablespoon of fresh parsley, and 1 cup of tomato sauce.  I also added 1 cup of chicken stock to make sure the Instant Pot would come up to pressure.  Close the lid and set to manual on high pressure for 12 minutes and use the quick release when it is done cooking.

Take the chicken out and remove the meat from the bones, and make sure to remove the skin.  Meanwhile, change the setting to saute and bring the gravy up to a boil.  Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with a little cold water into the gravy and let it boil while you deal with the chicken meat.  Once the gravy has thickened, add the chicken back to the gravy.  This is excellent with rice.  I also think it would be really great over mashed potatoes.

Mrs. Dornberger's Chicken Stew

This recipe is for sure a keeper and will go into our rotation.  My whole family loved it and it was really easy to make.  I figure this could easily feed eight people.  The estimated cost is $8.27, making each serving just over $1.00.  The cost is without the rice.  One thing that I couldn’t find that the recipe called for was lavender leaves.  Next time I make this, I will have to find some online to see how it changes the flavor of this chicken stew.

Original Recipe

Chicken Stew

Prepare a tender chicken for stew.  Fry in hot Italian olive oil and add a few small white onions or a large onion chopped, three cloves garlic chopped fine, a bit of lavender leaves, a bay leaf or two rubbed to powder, green bell peppers chopped fine and a little parsley.  Let simmer slowly on back of stove.  Do not add water unless to prevent burning.  Cook about two and one-half hours, when chicken should be tender.  About 45 minutes before chicken is done pour in about half a can tomato sauce.  Judge carefully, according to quantity of acid in fruit, how much to put in.  If cooked slowly there should be a thick gravy when ready to serve.  A dish of Spanish macaroni or rice is excellent served with this stew.

Mrs. Victor Dornberger, 157 S. Thirteenth Street, San Jose.

Printed in The San Francisco Call on May 4, 1913

Mrs. Dornberger's Chicken Stew Recipe

Mrs. Dornberger's Chicken Stew

A chicken stew recipe from 1913

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 1 whole chicken cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 ea bay leaf
  • 2 cups green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley minced fine
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed smooth with a little water


  1. For Instant Pot: Set to saute, add olive oil and fry cut chicken in batches.  Saute the onions and garlic.  Add the chicken back into the Instant Pot along with remaining ingredients.  Cover and set the Instant Pot on manual high pressure for 12 minutes.  When the cooking is over, use the quick release.  Remove the chicken and change the setting to saute.  Add cornstarch mixed smooth with water.  Boil the gravy until desired thickness.  Meanwhile, remove chicken from bones and be sure to remove skin.  Cut or shred into smaller pieces and return the meat to the gravy.

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: