Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew

This afternoon, the usual late-in-the-day rain came, bringing with it cooler temperatures and slower traffic.  For some reason, Coloradans freak out when driving in rain, although we can spin around on the snow and ice like nobody's business.  (Well, not me, other people.  I'm not thrilled to drive in snow, either.)  On a good day, my drive home from work takes about an hour and 15 minutes; if I'm lucky, just an hour.  Today, it took two hours.  Ugh!

When I got into town, I stopped for some bread at the grocery store on our street and got my feet soaked stepping through puddles in my flip flops.  And although it was near 90 degrees earlier today, the damp and cool evening got me thinking about soup.  I had planned on making some kind of chicken and sweet potatoes for dinner tonight, so I turned that plan into a stew instead.

When I make soup or stew, I basically make it up as I go, with whatever vegetables I have on hand, and it's always such a comfort food.  It's warm and filling, as well as being a healthy and low-fat dinner option.  When I was first living on my own in China, one of the few dishes I knew how to cook was soup, and it was my mom's recipe with ground beef, potatoes, green beans, corn, and any other veggies I felt like adding.  It was a staple meal for me, and I'd usually make a big pot every week and eat it all week long.

This chicken and sweet potato stew I made tonight has a very savory broth from the tarragon, bay leaf and a hint of cloves, and the sweet potatoes add such a wonderful flavor to the tender pieces of chicken.  We ate ours with some crusty bread, sharp white cheddar cheese and a few cherry tomatoes.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat.  Add the shallot and celery and season with a little salt.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low.  Cover and simmer for one hour, or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are soft. 

Serve with toasted bread and cheese.