Spicy Chicken Stew

For most, watching football means eating wings, hamburgers, pizza, or nachos. For me, watching football means a chance to test out a super filling new recipe on a bunch of guys. It also means a chance to dust off the slow cooker, which has been hibernating in my storage closet all summer long. (The poor underused thing.) When choosing a recipe for a game last Saturday, I knew it had to compete, on some level, with those greasier options. At the same time, it had to be somewhat healthy because it was going to be my dinner, too. This Spicy Chicken Stew, which I found on myrecipes.com, was the perfect solution. It had tons of flavor thanks to salsa, cumin, and chile powder. And I could bump up the health factor by increasing the veggie content and adding black beans (not pictured since I, er, borrowed the image from the aforementioned website.)

Around 11am on Saturday, just as I was due to begin putting the ingredients in the slow cooker, I freaked out. What if it was a total flop? The guys would be forced to eat this pathetic stew when they could be biting into a delicious slice of deep dish pizza (it is Chicago, after all). I took another glance at the recipe online and scrolled down to the comments. What I found: People were raving about this recipe. They wrote things like, “Yum, definitely the best slow cooker recipe yet!” And, “This dish is probably in the top 5 meals I have ever made. The chicken was so juicy, and it had the perfect amout of spice for me! Excellent meal!” And, “Tastes absolutely wonderful. Spices give it a great flavor. This recipe is now a winter staple!”

I was sold. Game on. Fortunately, it turned out to be a winning night for both me and the team.

Ingredients:

3 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 (10 oz) package frozen sweet corn
3 stalks celery, cut into chunks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 yellow onion, thickly sliced
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 jar of salsa (I used hot)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast (1 lb.)
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 10.5 oz)
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can black beans

Preparation

Place potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion and garlic in slow cooker. Stir in salsa, salt, cumin, chile powder and pepper. Distribute chicken evenly on top of vegetables and pour chicken broth over chicken. Cover slow cooker and cook stew on high for 4 hours. Transfer chicken to a plate and shred with two forks into bite-size chunks; return to slow cooker. Add black beans and continue cooking until they’re heated. Serve with corn bread muffins (which I did) or tortilla chips (which I also did).

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