Friday, March 16, 2012

Free Friday - Chicken Kale stew

Welcome to Friday! It's the weekend and today I'm going to give you a great recipe to feed the family as well as freeze for a few lunches next week. My hint was that you were going to need a slowcooker. If you are starting with nothing but a bunch of ingredients and a raw chicken, then yes, you need this. But if you're swinging by the store on the way home and grabbing a rotisserie chicken, then no, you don't need the crock pot. This particular dish is a great, warm, comfort food, filled with hearty veggies and rich proteins. No sugar and no wheat, it's the perfect cold night stew. I realize we're headed into spring and don't worry, I'll be pulling out more recipes for salads and maybe a few cakes, but for now I was really looking for something nutrient dense and this definitely does it.

The ingredient list isn't complicated but it is full. The method isn't crazy but it can take a little bit. If you're in a hurry, make this stew ahead of time. It tastes great after being in the fridge overnight and freezes very well. I used my 6 qt pot and found it was a little too small. If you have a stock pot, definitely use that.

Also, straying from my usual butter obsession, today I've put a new ingredient on the list: coconut oil. Coconut oil is supposedly VERY good for you, has all these magical abilities and in general will save the world someday. Unrefined will give your food a light coconut magic taste and refined will just give you magic. I used the coconut oil in my chicken stew instead of butter because there's been some recent discussion about how butter is bad. I disagree to a certain extent, however, I do think I probably eat too much butter. So, if you can make the splurge (coconut oil is NOT cheap) then go for it, it's good fat.

Let's get started!

Chicken Kale Stew:


3 oz butter or coconut oil
8 oz carrots chopped
1/4 onion or bunch of spring onions chopped, including green tops
3oz chopped garlic (about 1/2 head garlic)
2 stalks of celery chopped
2-4 cups water
2 tablespoons of chicken soup base
bag of frozen mixed veggies - your choice/favorite
14 oz of fresh chopped kale - I buy a huge bag already chopped
2 cans cannellini beans
teaspoon of thyme (or if you have it fresh 3 sprigs torn up)
8 large basil leaves torn
1 whole cooked chicken, pulled apart into pieces/chopped into 1" pieces

Start with some oil/butter in the bottom of your stock pot. Throw in onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Cook on medium heat till the carrots start to become tender. Add the soup base and 2 cups of water, and the frozen veggies. Stir and start to bring the pot back up to medium heat cooking the veggies. Add in the basil and thyme, beans and kale. Stir until the kale is fully incorporated into the soup and turning bright green, adding water if necessary to cover everything. Finally, add the chicken, bring the stew to a boil (add more water if you find it to be a little thick). Gently boil for 15 min to help blend flavors and serve hot. This is where your stew will end up tasting better the next day, by letting it sit overnight (refrigerated), reheating will awaken some of those flavors that weren't quite ready when it was fresh. But it still tastes great right out of the pot.


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