It may be gray outside, but no matter what the weather, you can still serve up a bowl of comforting nutrition. This week’s recipe for hearty chicken stew is a seasonal favorite that makes good use of kitchen staples like carrots, onions and potatoes. Better still, leftovers can be refrigerated for a quick and delicious lunch later in the week.
The humble carrot belongs to a family of vegetables known for their aromatic properties. Thanks to this, they are often a featured ingredient in stews and soups. When carrots cook they take on a noticeable sweetness as their cells break down and allow the natural sugars to be released. Carrots are an excellent source of the antioxidant compound beta-carotene; evidence links foods containing beta-carotene with a possible reduction in risk for esophageal cancer.
Rustic potatoes offer a complement to the brightly colored carrot. The English word potato comes from the Spanish patata. Most Americans are familiar with a limited number of potato varieties, but hundreds of types are cultivated in the Andes mountains of South America where the plant is indigenous. Surprisingly, the world’s top potato producer is China, followed by Russia, India and the United States.
Although starchy vegetables like potatoes are more concentrated in calories than non-starchy veggies, they remain staples in a balanced diet, providing many nutritional benefits. Potatoes supply almost twice the potassium of a banana and offer dietary fiber as well. Just be sure to leave the potato skin intact before cooking.
Satisfying Chicken Stew
- 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 4 small onions quartered
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- Handful thyme sprigs
- 1 lb. baby carrots cut in half
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups low fat reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 lbs. red baby potatoes rinsed and unpeeled, cut into quarters
- 1/2 cup frozen cut green beans
Season chicken thighs well with poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Add chicken thighs. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pot and set aside. Using the same oil in the pan, add onions. Cook for 2 minutes and then add minced garlic. Place thyme sprigs in pot and add carrots.
Add bay leaf to the pot. Add chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to pick up the pan drippings in the bottom. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.
Skim and discard any scum that may come to the top. Simmer for 1 hour and then add potatoes and cook for another 30 minutes. (For a total of 1 1/2 hours.) Add green beans, cook until tender-crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove stew from heat and serve.
Per serving: 250 calories, 7 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 26 g carbohydrate, 20 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 250 mg sodium.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $86 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.