Sunday, October 10, 2010

Still Stewed

I've been stewing a lot of chicken this year. It all started with my mom's old stand-by:

And then there was the Bashian Marinade Fiasko:

The African Kedjenou:

And the Asian obsession:

I've come to the conclusion that this kind of cooking is perfect for my no fuss style in the kitchen. I love a one pot meal that offers easy clean up, great aromas throughout the house, and leftovers that re-heat beautifully. And let's not forget how figure friendly and healthy this type of cooking is. So where do I go from here I wonder, to keep up my excitement? How about the exotic land of India.

A few weeks ago I was watching a new show on the food network hosted by an adorable gal named Aarti Sequeira. She's from India and was making an Indian version of our American Sloppy Joe's. That's not one of my favorite things to eat, yet the sauce she was concocting sure got my attention. I made a note to myself to incorportate her saucey spices in my next stewed chicken creation. And the only thing I didn't have in my pantry or fridge to complete this dish was the spice mix called Garam Masala. If you're not familiar with this seasoning, it's simply a combination of cumin, coriander, cardomom, pepper and cinnamon, and other spices indigenous to Indian cooking. You can make it yourself, but I took the easy route and bought a bottle in the spice aisle of my supermarket for about six dollars.

Indian Inspired Stewed Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

4 bone in chicken thighs, skin removed

salt and pepper

1 T canola oil

1 cup diced onions

1 cup diced green and/or red peppers

2 T minced fresh ginger

1 T minced garlic

1 Serrano chile, seeds included, thinly sliced (I'd use 2 next time)

1 tsp Garam Masala

1/2 tsp paprika

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1 14.5 oz can low fat, low sodium chicken broth

2 medium size sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 2 inch dice

1/4 cup fresh cilantro for garnish

Salt and pepper the chicken and set aside. Over medium low heat in large pot add canola oil. When oil is warm, add onions and peppers. Cook about 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened, but not browned. Add garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute. Add Garam Masala, paprika, 1/2 tsp of salt, black pepper and the Serrano chili. Stir for about 30 seconds and you'll begin to smell the spices emitting their warmth. Add the tomato sauce and chicken broth and increase heat to a rolling simmer. Add chicken, reduce heat to low and cover pot. Cook 25 minutes at a gentle simmer. After 25 minutes add the diced sweet potatoes and continue to cook with the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes. Your Indian stew is ready. I like to serve this with rice, and next time maybe even toss in some raisins toward the end of cooking. I really enjoyed this meal and will make it again for sure.

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