Friday, October 25, 2013

Guatemalan Green Stew

In the winter (or at least when we hit temperatures under 80, which is practically winter in Texas), I love me a good stew.  They fill your home with a warm smell, act as humidifiers and provide lots of meals.

Tom and I just polished off the vast amount of chili (a 6 quart crockpot and a giant stewpot full....) I made while perfecting our recipe for his office chili cookoff, so you might think we would want something light and fluffy like a salad.

But it's cold, and in the cold, I don't eat salads.

So what's a girl who needs a break from heavier meals but is still in need of serious eats that are warm and cozy?

A chicken and veggie stew!  But really, this one is so much more exciting than the progresso taste-alikes you get when you toss tomatoes, zucchini, onion etc into a pot.  This one comes from Guatemala and uses pepitas and sesame seeds to give it heft and, obviously, nuttiness.  They thicken and provide an excellent texture, too!  The veggie component is cilantro, tomatillos, peppers, and onions, and it somehow still something very different from your classic tex mex stew.

Plus it's dead simple.  No fancy spices. Every ingredient is available in the standard grocery store.  You only need a blender or food processor. Pretty much 10 minutes prep time.  Provides 8 servings.  Boom.

The original recipe over at Panning the Globe was much better about doing things in a slow, methodical, proper way.  The first time I made this stew, I followed his directions and it was perfect.  This time, though, I... didn't do that.  I used jalapenos instead of bell peppers and roasted all the veggies instead of sauteeing them.  I also just blended everything together willy nilly instead of in nice little batches.  It was still delicious, but the roasting also made it a little more mellow, a little deeper.  If you want fresh brightness, go with the original or add some lime juice.  If you like your veggies charred, make it like so:

6 jalapenos
1.5 lbs tomatillos (or equivalent canned tomatillo, available in Hispanic foods aisle)
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic still in their outer casing
1/2 c pepitas, roasted and salted
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 c roasted sesame seeds
2.5 lbs chicken thighs

Slice onion into 1/2 inch rounds.  Halve and seed jalapenos.  Wash up your tomatillos and if you have any HUGE ones, cut them in half.  Roast all of the above at 450 for about 25 minutes, taking the garlic out at the 15 minute mark. While that roasty goodness is going on, put your chicken in a large pot and blitz the pepitas and sesame seeds for 15ish seconds in a food processor.  Pour the seeds over the chicken.  Now attend to the garlic. (Nifty trick: your garlic should have split its casing and can be simply squeezed into your food processor!)  Put it in food processor.  When other ingredients are roasted, add them to food processor.  Everything is getting pulsed pretty well, so don't worry about putting all the tomatillos together or only the jalapenos or whatnot.  Just fill it up as much as you can, blend, dump into pot on top of chicken, add more stuff to processor and go again.  Once all of your veggies are on top of your chicken, add broth until chicken is covered and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer and cook 30 minutes til whenever.  I too the chicken out and shredded it after about 45 minutes, returned it to the pot, and served. Serve with lime, avocado, and cilantro if you'd like.

306 calories, 5 net carbs, 22g fat, 37 g protein.  Cost per serving: $1.15

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