Thursday, 14 July 2011

Recipes - Mexican Chicken

This is my own, bastardised take on a Mexican stew.  This recipes stemmed from my desire to keep my kids meals veggie packed, interesting and easy to cook in bulk and freeze in portions. This dish is so delicious it became one of the regular meals I cook for all of us!  

4 x chicken thighs, diced
2 x 400g tin tomatoes
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 x red capsicum, grated or finely diced
1 x carrot, grated or finely diced
1 x zucchini, grated or finely diced
2 x celery stalks, grated of finely diced
1 x corn cob, kernels removed
1 x brown onion, grated or diced
2x garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
1-2 x small red chili, finely chopped
2 x tbs tomato paste
1 x tsp sugar
2 x tsp ground ginger
1 x tsp ground cumin
1 x tsp ground corriander seeds
1 x tsp smokey paprika
1/2 x tsp ground chili
1-2 cups water
salt, to season

Step 1 - Heat a good slurp of oilve oil in a large fry pan.  When hot, add onion and garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes.  Do not allow to colour. 
Step 2 - Add carrot, zucchini, capsicum and celery and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
Step 3 - Add chicken and seal. Once sealed add spices and toast, stirring frequently, for up to 1 minutes. 
Step 4 - Add tomato paste and sugar and cook off for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Step 5 - Add tin tomatoes, 1-2 cups water, chickpeas, red kidney beans and corn kernels.  Cover with lid and simmer slowly for 2-3 hours, stirring periodically.  
Step 6 - After about an hour, season with salt and taste.  If sauce is getting too dry, add a little more water.
Step 7 - Serve on rice with sour cream, guacamole, lemon and fresh, finely chopped coriander.


To cook this meal quickly, only add 1 cup water, place on a fast simmer for 30 minutes - 1 hour and stir frequently.  

The slow cooking heat for a long time ensures the acidity in the tomatoes reduces and you will get a much richer flavour.  The chicken will also become very tender and the vegetables should 'melt' into the sauce, which is a great way to get more veggies into kids who are fussy eaters.  

Some of the vegetables have a high water content, so if grating you will need to squeeze the excess water from the vegetables before frying otherwise they will stew and it will be difficult to seal the chicken and toast the spices.  

Two chicken breasts can be used in place of thighs, however, I prefer the flavour of the theigh.  I feel that breasts are great for grilling but are wasted in stews and other slow cooked meals.  

Add chili to taste.  

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