Monday, April 1, 2013

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken Stew

After Saturday's early Easter festivities, KK and I had Easter brunch with some friends at O'Nieals.  The brunch menu had a good range of breakfast and lunch options, as well as an extensive variety of Bloody Mary choices, including a "build your own" option.  I'm more of a mimosa girl myself, but several people around the restaurant were enjoying Bloody Marys.

We opted for a non-traditional Easter dinner - Tex-Mex stew! With the temperatures in the mid-50s, I'm not really sure what prompted KK to pick stew for dinner, but it was delicious.  I think KK was swayed by his love of shredded chicken! I started the slow cooker before we left for brunch, and the apartment smelled heavenly by the time we got home.  Without Tapioca on hand, KK's research indicated that we should use flour to help the stew thicken.  My original instinct was to use cornstarch, but thankfully KK learned that cornstarch tends to break down in the crockpot.  Good to know! I carefully removed most of the jalapeno ribs/seeds, but KK and I didn't think the stew was hot enough.  Remember - we like things spicy! A little Frank's RedHot did the trick, but next time I'll probably leave some of the jalapeno seeds or add more chili powder.

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken Stew
Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures
Time: 5 hrs 35 minutes
Serves: 6-8

2 onions, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup instant tapioca
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
3 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
2 cups frozen corn
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Shredded Mexican cheese (optional), for topping

1. Combine the onions, jalapenos, garlic, tomato paste, oil, and chili powder in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes, stirring half-way though, until the onions have softened. Transfer mixture to the slow cooker.

2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, tapioca, and brown sugar to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then add it to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

3. Move chicken from slow cooker to mixing bowl; shred it using two forks.  Allow the stew to sit uncovered and untouched for 5 minutes; use a spoon to skim any fat from the surface. 

4. Add the corn and black beans, cover slow cooker and cook on high for 10 minutes.  Add the shredded chicken and chipotle chile, and cook for another 5 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve and top with shredded cheese, if desired.

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