Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stew for a Storm

By Brianne Harrison

This time of year, I’m a big fan of comfort foods, and there are few foods I find more comforting than stew. Which is why, this past weekend, as the first snowstorm of the week raged, I found myself gathering spices, chicken, and stock and wondering just what I should do with them. The spices and sweet potatoes in the resulting recipe add a kick and take this stew beyond the usual chicken and dumplings combo:

Spiced Chicken Stew
1 lb chicken thighs, cut into 1” pieces
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled & diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cayenne
¼ tsp chili powder
3 c. chicken stock
4-5 leaves kale, chopped

1. Mix the flour and spices in a medium bowl. Toss the chicken pieces in the flour/spice mixture until evenly coated. Shake off excess flour.

2. Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Brown the chicken in batches on all sides, and remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

3. Add more olive oil to the pot if necessary. Saute the celery, carrot, garlic, and onion until fragrant and the onion turns a creamy white color, about 3-5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot and stir to combine with the vegetables. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Uncover, add the potatoes, recover, and simmer another 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the kale, recover, and cook a further 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
One of the greatest things about stews is that they tend to improve over time, making this a perfect dish to cook up over the weekend and set aside for a mid-week dinner.

Healthy Roundup:
Sweet potatoes and the spices used in this recipe are very high in antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are also high in dietary fiber and are an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals.

Kale is exceptionally high in vitamins A, C, and K and has been credited with helping to fight cancer and other diseases. Like sweet potatoes, it’s a great source of antioxidants and dietary fiber

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