Spanish Chicken and Saffron Stew

Serves  6 to 8
Cooking Time  4 to 5 hours on Low
Slow Cooker Size  5½ to 7 Quarts
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS : For an easy weeknight meal with an
exotic edge, we took inspiration from the classic saffron-infused sauces
used in Spanish dishes to make a hearty stew. To start, we microwaved
saffron with paprika, onion, and garlic to intensify their flavors. We
added this flavorful mixture to the slow cooker along with chicken broth,
boneless chicken thighs, and canned diced tomatoes. After hours of
cooking, the spices infused the stew with rich flavor. For the final touch,
we made a version of a Spanish picada, traditionally a mixture of ground
toasted almonds, garlic, and herbs. Our stew already had plenty of garlic
flavor, so we simply added chopped toasted almonds and fresh parsley
just before serving. See the sidebar that follows the recipe.

2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
¼ teaspoon saffron, crumbled
4 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 tablespoons instant tapioca
4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
Salt and pepper
¼ cup chopped almonds, toasted
¼ cup minced fresh parsley

1. Microwave onions, garlic, oil, paprika, and saffron in bowl, stirring
occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow
cooker. Stir in broth, tomatoes, and tapioca. Season chicken with salt and
pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken is
tender, 4 to 5 hours on low.
2. Using large spoon, skim excess fat from surface of stew. Break chicken
into about 1-inch pieces with tongs. (Adjust stew-consistency with extra
hot broth as needed.) Stir in almonds and parsley and season with salt
and pepper to taste. Serve.

Spicy Chicken and Chorizo Stew

Serves 6 to 8
Cooking Time 4 to 5 hours on Low
Slow Cooker Size 5½ to 7 Quarts
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: This Southwestern-style recipe is
not only hearty and satisfying but also quick, thanks to chorizo sausage,
canned crushed tomatoes, and frozen corn. Boldly spiced chorizo lent
complex flavor, aroma, and plenty of meatiness to the stew, saving us
from reaching for multiple jars of dried spices. Microwaving the sausage
along with some chopped onions and garlic helped to render some of its
fat and bring out its flavor. For added kick and a boost of smoky flavor,
we stirred in spicy canned chipotle chiles. Adding the frozen corn to the
stew at the end of cooking ensured that it remained tender and freshtasting.
A final sprinkling of minced cilantro added brightness and
rounded out the dish. See the sidebar that follows the recipe.

12 ounces chorizo sausage, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons instant tapioca
4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
Salt and pepper
1 cup frozen corn
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro

1. Microwave chorizo, onions, garlic, and chipotle in bowl, stirring
occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow
cooker. Stir in tomatoes, broth, and tapioca. Season chicken with salt and
pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken is
tender, 4 to 5 hours on low.
2. Using large spoon, skim excess fat from surface of stew. Break chicken
into about 1-inch pieces with tongs. Stir in corn and let sit until heated
through, about 5 minutes. (Adjust stew consistency with extra hot broth
as needed.) Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve.

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