Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Slow Cooker Spanish Chicken and Saffron Stew

Conclusion--I don't use my slow cooker enough.  Don't be scared, readers.  I have no designs on turning Apple a Day into some crazy assemble and freeze 46573827 slow cooker meals in one day kind of a blog.  I promise you I will NEVER tell you to dump eight different cans of cream of anything soup in your slow cooker with a can of sprite and call it a meal.  (I'm giving you the side eye, Pinterest pinners.)  But, when the recipe is right, the slow cooker can be one of your best friends.

This recipe uses real, whole ingredients for a meal that is not only comforting and flavorful, but healthy, as well.  I saw Josie post it on her blog, Pink Parsley.  She got the recipe from America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution.  Neither of these sources has ever steered me wrong, so adding this stew to the weekly meal plan was a no brainer.  With just a couple of minor adaptations, a loaf of crusty olive bread drizzled with olive oil, an outstanding glass of wine, and even better company, this stew was a definite winner.



Slow Cooker Spanish Chicken and Saffron Stew
slightly adapted from Pink Parsley
originally from America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2

Ingredients:
2 TBSP olive oil, divded
1 tsp. salt, plus more for chicken
3/4 tsp. pepper, plus more for chicken
4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken pieces (I used half breasts and half thighs)
2 1/4 c. chopped white onion, divided
2 TBSP minced fresh garlic
1 TBSP paprika (I took Josie's suggestion and used half smoked and half sweet)
1/4 tsp. crumbled saffron
3-4 c. chicken broth
1 (14.5-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
3 TBSP instant tapioca
1/2 c. minced parsley, divided
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 c. toasted almonds, chopped
1-2 limes, cut into wedges

Directions:
1.  Over medium-high heat, warm 1 TBSP oil in a large sauté pan.  Generously salt and pepper chicken pieces on both sides.  Brown chicken, 3-4 minutes per side, then remove from pan and set aside.  (If you have a slow cooker with multiple functions, such as the Cuisinart Multicooker, this can all be done in the cooker's insert.)

2.  Add remaining oil to same pan (or slow cooker insert) and sauté onions, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp. pepper, paprika, and saffron until onions begin to soften, but are not browned, about 5 minutes.  Transfer onion mixture and oil to slow cooker.

3.  Stir in 3 cups of the broth, tomatoes, and tapioca.  Nestle chicken pieces in liquid.  Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours, until chicken is tender.

4.  Just before serving, use tongs to break up chicken pieces or remove from the slow cooker, chop or shred, and return.  Add 1/4 c. minced parsley.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

5.  In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 c. onion, remaining parsley, and jalapeño.  

6.  To serve, ladle stew into bowls and top with onion-parsley mixture and almonds.  Serve lime wedges alongside.

Yields: 6-8 servings

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