Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mexican Chicken Stew

Photo courtesy Taste of Home
  Chicken is one of the most versatile meats around. I use it often, in many different ways. If I can put it in the crockpot, all the better. 
  For my crew, I usually get boneless breast, but thighs were on special and I couldn't resist trying my version of a Mexican Chicken Soup that I'd come across. I used it as a loose basis and added a lot of what I had on hand to come up with a stew rich in flavor. Some cornbread or tortillas on the side would top the meal off.

Mexican Chicken Stew
3 slices bacon
8 chicken thighs (skin on)
3 T. smoky dry rub (see "spice" post)
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 bell pepper, any color, sliced
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, Mexican or with green chilies 
1 (10 oz.) can Mexican tomatoes (like Ro-tel)
crushed red pepper, sprinkle 
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 T. cilantro
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 cup chicken bouillon
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
sprinkle of lime juice (1 tsp.?)
cooked rice (white or brown)

   In large skillet cook bacon and then remove to drain on paper towel. While bacon is cooking, sprinkle thighs with spice rub and salt and pepper. 
   Add chicken to skillet and lightly brown, over medium-low heat, about 4-6 minutes per side. Remove to slow cooker when done. 
   Without draining, gradually add the following to the skillet  - carrot, celery, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Saute' veggies stirring often. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper and stir well.
   In slow cooker, over chicken, pour in tomatoes and add cilantro, oregano, and cumin.
When veggies are tender, about 8-10 minutes, stir in chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well and add lime juice. Pour into slow cooker. Add 1/2-1 cup of chicken bouillon depending on thickness desired. Cook on low overnight or 8-10 hours. 
   Before serving, with a slotted spoon, remove chicken to plate and discard bone and skin.* Break into chunks and return to sauce. Serve over rice and top with remaining bacon. 
   Serves 6-8. Recipe can be halved, use one can of tomatoes.

*My crew prefers boneless, skinless chicken, if yours don't mind, this is optional.)
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