Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tweaking a Recipe: Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew

I am a recipe "tweaker." It's an addiction of which I will never be cured. I don't want to be cured. I can't help myself. I take a look at a recipe that sounds good and I immediately start ripping it apart and putting it back together. I guess I know what I like and I know how I like to cook. Cooking is kind of an art, I use it to express myself. I find it hard to color within the lines when it comes to cooking.

There are some members on recipe sites that get in a tizzy over us recipe tweakers. Because we have the gall to make changes to a recipe and then rate it and write a review! How dare we. There is a lot of value to the reviewers who follow a recipe to a tee (which I have done many times too). These reveiws let us know how the recipe works as written and what improvements need to be made. However, I think us tweakers contribute valuable reviews also. We let people know that you can change a recipe to suit you and your family's tastes. Recipes aren't written in stone. Use them as guidelines and have some fun!

So let's talk about the most recent recipe that I tweaked. Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew. I loved the idea of this recipe. I love sweet potatoes in savory applications. Sweet potatoes are so good for you and they are a great winter vegetable, and thus perfect for stews. It's also a slow cooker recipe, which is awesome. I read the reviews on EatingWell.com and decided some tweaking was going to be necessary. Some of the comments: bland, too soupy, mushy potatoes. I set about to fix this recipe. The blandness could be remedied by adding chicken broth and a thickener could be added to make it less soupy and more "stewy." The potatoes should be added later to prevent them from overcooking and becoming mushy. I also decided to cut everything into chunks, like a typical stew. We loved the result and I think I will add this to my "keeper" recipes.

My husband was setting the table for dinner and asked if we needed forks or spoons. I replied, "Yes." You will need both a fork for the meat and potatoes and a spoon for the tasty thick liquid part. Some sort of bread (like Spinach Goat Cheese Muffins) is an absolute must for sopping up the goodness.

Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew
(this is not a low-FODMAP recipe)
adapted from EatingWell.com

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon, dried, crushed rosemary
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 lb. white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. flour

Directions:
1. Place chicken, broth, wine, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary in slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.
2. Stir in sweet potatoes and mushrooms, cover and cook on low for 3 more hours.
3. Stir together the water and flour to make a slurry and slowly add to stew, stirring constantly. Turn the slow cooker up to high, cover and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the stew has thickened.

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