I just noticed that, lately, I have been writing a ton of vegetarian recipes. And while it is not a conscious effort on my part to dish out vegetarian, it definitely reflects that I have been more creative in my vegetarian recipes.
But today is an conscious exception to that trend. I am gonna tell you about a simple chicken stew that I made a few weeks ago. If you are thinking, oh no here she goes non-vegetarian after a while and all she can come up with is a stew and that too chicken? Really?
This stew has a couple of the usual suspects: Chicken and Potatoes. But its unusual in couple of way: (a) how it is made; there is no frying or sauteing of any kind in any type of oil (I dare you to find a simpler method to make chicken stew) and (b) choice of the whole garlic, tomatoes and onions. The stew also also has a good amount of Pimmenton, chili and some vinegar. And by the time the stew is done, I assure you there will be nothing bland or stewy about it :) well..other than the consistency which is not replaceable. I mean..hello its a stew, after all :)
A word about Pimmenton.
Pimmenton is Spanish paprika as in the word 'pimento' which is Spanish for chile pepper. Pimmenton i.e. powdered Spanish pimento pepper comes as smoked or hot or bitter-sweet. I really like the smoked kind. This spice packs an incredible flavor the likes of which I am yet to find. So, if you can get a hold of a jar, pay for it. It pays you back way more than you will have bargained for. And soon you may be looking for recipes to use it! Quite a powerful little guy, this one.
The other two things that I am going to talk are tomatoes and olive oil. This recipe is really simple, meaning heavily contingent upon the quality of ingredients you use. So do your best. Spanish extra virgin olive oil is gorgeous here. And flavorful little tomatoes are critical. You can't just go use cooking tomatoes that taste like sawdust. I use the word 'must' with caution. But here I do. You must try and get good quality fresh tomatoes. Canned ones, packaged ones will just about ruin this stew.
The chicken --well not much you can do about it. Just try and good juicy thighs with the bone. Whole chicken cut up would work real best.
Anyways, lots of talk. I'll show you the end product. As there is not much else to write about (no worries, I will). But take a look...ehehhe..gorgeous. Won't you say? :)
Lets see how this thing comes together
Pimmenton chicken stew
3-4 lbs of chicken thighs. You can use drumsticks, whole legs or just one chicken cut up. Rustic style. I do that. You can leave some skin on. Or remove them all. I prefer to leave skin on in some of the pieces. Adds a dramatic lot of flavor. But then remove them while you eat (even if it is difficult to throw the great skin out, do it. You will be eliminating a lot of trans fat and no flavor at all).
3-4 fresh tomatoes. Halved. Resist the urge to dice it. Or you can use whole sweet grape tomatoes, one pint of them.
2 medium sized onion. Quarter and that's it
5-7 cloves of garlic. Smashed.
1 big russet potato: Leave the skin on and cut it into big chunks. Maybe 6-8 squares out of the one russet potato?
2-3 whole red chile. Used this way, the chiles will add flavor and no heat. You can fish them out later before serving
2 tbsf pimmenton. You can use a combination of hot, smoked or sweet. I really just stick to smoked. It gives a flavor that ..you know. Try the smoked. Its legit and really is the best way to do this stew. IF you cannot get this smoked pimmenton, try to toast 1 tsp of ground cumin (on very low heat~ 1 min constantly stirring) and mix with your regular paprika. That will give a hint of smokiness that is fantastic as well.
Salt and pepper for seasoning
2-3 tbsf extra virgin olive oil. Spanish olive oil is best here. But don't go nuts looking for it.
1 tbsf vinegar. I use red wine vinegar. But use whatever. Or you can skip this too.
2-3 cups of warmed (or room temperature) chicken stock or hot water.
Start and end in a deep pot. I like a dutch oven.
Now, place chicken, potato, garlic, onion, spices in your pot. Add the oil, vinegar, chile, salt and pepper. Mix a bit. Put the lid on. And leave on medium heat for ~ 10 min. This way of cooking ensures that the juices are mixing that add tons of flavor. If you add water or try to pressure cook it, all that flavor gets diluted or does not have time to get released. The result is a tasteless flavorless over cooked mush. So hold off on the water. After 10-20 min, you will see that stuff is sticking to the bottom when you move with your spatula. Those things are what needs to now get into the stew to add more flavor. So gently add the warm stock or water and scrape the bits sticking to the bottom. Add about 2-3 cups of water while you are doing this. Let things come to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for ~ 30-40 min. The chicken should be falling off the bones at this stage. You can fish out the garlic and chiles. I do not. I leave them right in. What a homey look that gives to the table.
That's your stew my friends. Not too stewy, not too stoupy. Just a good old chicken stew that packs a punch. Have with some crusty bread and some wine.
Happy eating and healthy living!