The Occasional Chef: Chicken Stew and Brownies

Well, OK, “chef” is definitely too grand a word for the kind of cooking I do, but I like the sound of the phrase, and I really like the idea of spending a few hours in the kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The rest of the week we subsist on a combination of leftovers, planned overs (freezer meals), quick meals (hot dogs, tuna sandwiches, etc.), or takeout. What we end up with for weeknight suppers depends mostly on how energetic I am after work and whether there’s anything interesting left in the refrigerator. I also count on leftover weekend cooking for at least a couple of my weekday lunches.

This is what caught my eye for today’s meal:

Moroccan Chicken Stew (Campbell’s Soup advertisement)
2 tbsp. olive oil
8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
2 medium red onions, sliced
1 large green pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 can (about 15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1. Heat oil in 5-qt. saucepot over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until well browed on both sides. Remove chicken from saucepot.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, pepper, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Add cinnamon and curry and cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in soup and heat to a boil. Return chicken to saucepot. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
3. Stir raisins and chickpeas into saucepot. Cook 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in almonds.

Valentine Brownies (Good Housekeeping, February 2011)
¾ cup butter, cut up
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13″ x 9″ pan with foil; grease.
2. In a 3-quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolates on low, stirring. Remove from heat.
3. In bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat eggs until blended. Gradually add sugars; beat 10 minutes or until tripled in volume.
4. Fold in chocolates and vanilla and then flour/cocoa mixture. Pour into pan. Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out almost clean. Cool. Makes 16.

The stew seemed bland to us and DH didn’t like that it was made with chicken thighs, but it was easy enough to fix that I might consider some seasoning adjustments to amp up the flavor a bit and substitute breast meat for the thighs. The brownies were a hit—super moist and, despite three kinds of chocolate, not too chocolate-y.

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