Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cleaning Out the Freezer - January 12, 2013

It is a new year and so I decided it is also time to clean out the freezer.  I do this not only to toss anything that might have gotten freezer burned or too old to be tasty, but also to remember what all is in there so I can make use of it.  On her radio show, Splendid Table, Lynn Rosetta Casper plays a game where listeners call in and give her 5 ingredients in their refrigerator and she has to come up with a tasty recipe using them all.  I love to do this same thing with my fridge, but, it is easier because I don’t feel the need to use 5 disparate ingredients. 

When cleaning out this weekend, I found several packages of leg/thigh quarters from a local farmer, a zip lock bag of tomatoes I put up at the end of the season, and a bunch of homemade vegetable broth.  I also had spinach and sweet potatoes in this week’s farmer’s box.  Turns out, I have the perfect ingredients for Chicken Peanut Stew.  It was warm and spicy and delicious!

Chicken Peanut Stew

2 T. peanut or vegetable oil
1 chopped onion
2 minced cloves garlic
2 T. crushed ginger
1 lb. chicken thighs, cut in chunks
1 T. crushed red pepper
2 T. sweet curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
4 c. vegetable or chicken broth
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
16 oz. canned tomatoes with juices
1 c. chunky peanut butter
2 c. greens, coarsely chopped

Heat the oil in pot over medium and cook onions, garlic and ginger about 5 minutes.  Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides.  Season with peppers, curry and salt.  Pour broth and tomatoes over and add sweet potatoes.  Cover, reduce to low and cook 15 minutes.  Add greens and peanut butter and cook another 5 to 20 minutes until consistency you desire.

I also had a plethora of potatoes in my farmer’s box, so I put together a chicken pot roast too.  Actually, I think this would be great made in a crock pot. 

Pot Roast Chicken & Vegetables

1 3lb whole chicken
6-7 medium size potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
3 carrots, peeled & cut into about 2 -3 inch pieces
2 stalks celery cut into 2-3 inch pieces (optional)
1 onion, quartered
2 T. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 - 2 T. olive oil
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
Seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mince and mash the garlic and mix with butter.  Loosen the skin over the breasts and thighs to make pockets, rubbing the garlic butter mixture over the breast and thigh meat.  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in you dutch oven and get your pot really hot.  Add the chicken and cook, turning often, until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. 

Leave the chicken in the dutch oven, sprinkling with seasoning salt & pepper. Add the potatoes and vegetables around the chicken.  Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup water over the chicken.  Place the lid on your dutch oven and cook at 400 degrees for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the internal temperature in the thigh area reaches 165°F.  Check half way through and add more broth if needed. My only complaint about this recipe was the need for more liquid to keep the veggies moist and make plenty gravy.

Remove tender chicken to a platter and cut into serving pieces.  Place vegetables around the platter.  Cover and keep warm.  Now take the drippings that the chicken is cooked in. Using a bowl with a strainer placed on top strain the pan drippings.  Mix with flour water mixture and cook (adding broth or wine if needed) to make gravy.

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