Friday, May 4, 2012

Chicken and Chile Pepper Stew

I've been unintentionally updating several times in a row of recipes from the Crock Pot Incredibly Easy Recipes cookbook... and here's one more.  Last July 12, I tried a recipe in the cookbook for a "Chicken and Chile Pepper Stew." It's another really simple recipe, illustrating that the cookbook lives up to its name.

Now, as the cookbook instructs -- so how I made it originally -- is you begin by chopping the chicken and all the vegetables (potatoes, onion, poblano peppers, a jalapeno pepper, and garlic) into chunks and then you put them all in the crock pot.  Now, if I make this again, I'd probably start instead by mixing the broth in the crock pot and then adding the vegetables to save the extra bowl that I needed to use in this case to mix the broth. Also, I should note that the recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken thighs but, as usual, I substituted chicken breasts for the thighs because I prefer that cut.

The broth is made of chicken broth, diced tomatoes, chili powder, and oregano.  The cookbook even specifies to get low sodium chicken broth and no-salt-added diced tomatoes, but I normally get those anyway.  So, as I noted above, I recommend if you make this recipe that you mix the broth in the crock pot first, then add all the vegetables instead of mixing the broth and pouring it over the vegetables.  In both cases  you mix it all together after adding the broth, so there's really no reason to use the extra dish (which you then have to take the time to wash).

This is what the dish looks like before turning it on.

And this is what it looks like after cooking on low for eight to nine hours.

I served this stew with a salad, as you can see in the image to the left.  The stew itself is good, but I felt like the recipe ended up being too "potato-y".  The recipe calls for 1 pound of small potatoes, but I'd probably use less in a future attempt.  In terms of servings, this recipe says that it makes six servings, but I find in general that the soups and stews generally provide more servings than the recipe estimates.  However, because I don't remember how many servings we got, I'm going to have to use six to calculate cost and calories.

This is really healthy in terms of calories.  I calculated approximately 225 calories per serving, so the soup plus the salad come out under 500 calories total.  You could even add some French bread or rolls to the meal and still be within a reasonable amount of calories for dinner.  As for price, this is still really good, but not as cheap as some of the other dishes I've posted about.  If you had to buy everything for this dish, it would come out to about $5.33 per serving.  So, pretty good if you can cover one meal each day for six days at less than $10 a day!  As I made it, I paid about $4.58 per serving, but if I had all the staples I normally have on hand (onion, garlic, chili powder, and oregano) it would be a much more reasonable $3.68 per serving.  Since we had only moved into our new place the month before, this was the first dish that I made that called for chili powder so I had to buy that and it added almost a dollar to the price per serving!

Now, as you can see in comparing the picture on the left with the one above, this dish comes somewhat close to the image provided in the cookbook.  The one in the cookbook ends up more red, but otherwise it's not all that different.  Interestingly, the image above before I turned the crock pot on actually looks more like the image from the cookbook than it does after it was cooked.  Overall: this was a good and easy dish to make and I'd recommend it.  It's great for the grad student because it's one of those dishes that you can put together in the morning quickly (especially if you cut everything the night before) and then just leave it cooking all day while you're at school.

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