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Slow Cooker Citrus Spiced Chicken And Mushroom Stew

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After coming back from the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, and visiting with Pam Smith of Spice Blends, I knew I needed to incorporate her wonderful new spice blend, Citrus Spice, into this dish. I thought what better way than with a delicious French-style stew with chicken and mushrooms. Usually, I do this dish in a Dutch oven, I thought I could test this dish with my new 7-quart Crock-pot.

Really the only major prep to this dish is just the browning of the chicken. This is my Slow Cooker Citrus Spiced Chicken And Mushroom Stew.

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Onions

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Cremini Mushrooms

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thyme (2)

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 40 minutes (includes 30 minutes for browning chicken)
Cook Time: 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes (4 hours 20 minutes)
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 12-inch cast-iron skillet, 7-quart Crock-Pot, chef’s knife, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 2 large mixing bowls, 3 medium-size bowls

Ingredients:
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, cut in half
1 1/2 cups of Canola oil (amount of oil may vary)
4 medium-size Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed clean, dried, and halved
3 pints of whole cremini mushrooms, cleaned
2 large onions, quartered
3 ribs of celery, cut into 3-inch pieces, include leafy tops
6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon of Citrus Spice Blend
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of good white wine
1 cup of chicken broth, unsalted
1 cup of cooking liquid
1 heaping tablespoon of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Seasoned Flour:
3 cups of all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of Citrus Spice Blend
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
Start by cutting all four chicken breasts in half as seen in the pictures. Using paper towels, pat each piece of chicken dry really well. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Next, prep all the vegetables and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt and/or grit. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Last, in a medium-size bowl, prepare the seasoned flour. To a bowl add the flour, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, 3 tablespoons of Citrus Spice Blend, whisk to combine. Set aside.

To start, using 1 tablespoon of the Citrus Spice Blend, add a pinch of the spice blend underneath of the skin of each of the chicken pieces. Using 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, distribute evenly, season the tops of all the chicken pieces. Transfer the pieces to a rimmed baking sheet pan, set aside. Dredge each piece of chicken into the seasoned flour, shake off any excess, and set onto a separate rimmed baking sheet pan. Repeat the process until all the chicken pieces are coated in the seasoned flour.

In a cast-iron skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet, about 1/2-inch deep. Heat the oil until it starts to shimmer. Place the chicken into the skillet, skin side down, in batches of three. Cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, continue cooking skin side down, occasionally rearranging the chicken pieces until the fat renders and the skin is golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a pair of tongs flip each piece and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the finished golden brown chicken pieces back onto the rimmed baking sheet pan. Repeat the process until all the pieces are golden brown. The chicken will finish cooking in the slow cooker.

Into the Crock-pot place all of the potatoes, onion, celery, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper to the vegetables. Next, add the chicken broth and wine. Arrange all the chicken pieces on top, but make sure they are nestled in there really well.

Note: You want to set the temperature on high if cooking for 4 hours and low for 8 hours. Keep in mind that all the vegetables are going to release water as they cook, and this will cause the liquid to rise slowly as everything progresses. I cooked this version of high for 4 hours because I just happen to be home and I needed to watch the progression of the dish so I could post everything correctly.

Once everything has been cooking for 3 1/2 hours remove the chicken and transfer to a plate. Add the mushrooms and fresh thyme. If you left this to cook for 8 hours on low you’d pull the chicken out at 7 1/2 hours and do the same thing.

For a slightly thicker gravy, remove a ladle full of the cooking liquid and whisk in 1 heaping tablespoon of flour. Whisk until it becomes paste-like with a somewhat smooth consistency. Add it right back into the Crock-pot, stir to combine.

Carefully add all the chicken pieces back into the Crock-pot. Cover and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. The heat from the hot liquid and the chicken on the top will cook the mushrooms.

To go along with this dish I made my Semi-homemade Cheddar And Chive Drop Biscuits for dipping. The link for this recipe is at the bottom of this post.

To serve, ladle a good helping of the stew into a large porcelain bowl, making sure to get a little of everything. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley. This is my Slow Cooker Citrus Chicken And Mushroom Stew.

Semi-Homemade Cheddar And Chive Drop Biscuits

Mocha Chili Spiced Roasted Asparagus

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Chicken Meatball And Kale Stew

 

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Everyone has their own family meatball recipe but this one is a little different because I’ve given these chicken meatballs the flavor of Italian sausage. Chicken is a lot leaner than pork so we are going to cut some fat there, and that’s a good thing. Whenever I make meatballs I almost always make a double batch. It’s really just as easy to double the recipe if you’re going to make them. You can easily freeze the cooked meatballs and then you’ll have them ready to add to any future recipe.

Kale, another superfood, is packed full of vitamins. I feel really good about my Chicken Meatball And Kale Stew,  I just might even have a piece of crusty bread for dipping, Oh yeah!

Dutch Oven

Olive Oil

Kale

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Fennel

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Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Cremini Mushrooms

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Yields: 30 meatballs
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, cookie-dough scoop, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, parchment paper, chef’s knife

Note: Use half the meatballs for this recipe. After the meatballs are cooked allow half of them (15 meatballs) to come to room temperature. Place into a resealable zip-lock bag and transfer to the freezer.

Ingredients For Chicken Meatballs:
3 pounds of ground chicken
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 7-ounce container of store-bought fresh basil pesto (use 1/4 cup for this recipe)
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs
3 cloves of garlic, freshly
2 tablespoons of Ketchup
5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (reserve the rind)
2 cups of Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Ingredients For the Stew:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced (1/4-inch dice)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced (1/4-inch chunks)
2 (14.5)-ounce cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 pints of mushrooms, quartered
2 quarts of chicken stock, unsalted
1 reserved cheese rind, cut in half
1 (9-ounce) box of (Birds Eye) frozen whole artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered
2 bunches of organic kale, chopped (8 to 10 cups)
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch

 

Directions For Chicken Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper, of each pan, with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl and add all the ingredients (except the ground chicken) for the meatballs. Once everything is in the bowl mix to combine. You want the flavorings to have the consistency of wet sand. Next, add the ground meat to the bowl. Using a fork, evenly distribute the flavorings throughout the ground chicken. It may take a few minutes but it’s so worth it for your meatballs to be light and tender.

Using a cookie-dough scoop ensures the meatballs will be the same size. Scoop the meat mixture into your hands forming a ball. Continue until all the meatball mixture is finished.

Arrange the meatballs onto two baking sheet pans with space between each one. Lightly spray the tops of the meatballs with non-stick cooking spray to ensure they will brown evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

In the meantime prep the *Mirepoix for the soup. Dice the carrots, celery, and onions. Finish by mincing the garlic. Next, dice the potatoes and quarter the mushrooms. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Set aside.

In a preheated Dutch oven over medium heat add olive oil, diced onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Stir until the onions start to soften. Add the diced carrots, mushrooms, Stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms release their liquid and the carrots begin to soften 12 to 14 minutes. Add the minced garlic cook for 1 minute more.

Add the diced potatoes, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine. Add both cans of fire-roasted tomatoes and sugar, again stir to combine.

Remove the meatballs from the oven. Gently transfer them into the pot. Add the chicken stock, cheese rind, stir gently.

Still, over medium heat, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 35 to 40 minutes. After 40 minutes add thawed artichokes and chopped kale. The kale may need to be added in stages allowing it to wilt down into the liquid. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

In a small bowl add cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water, mix until smooth and paste-like. Slowly add the cornstarch *slurry into the pot and stir gently so as not to break the meatballs. Again continue to cook until the broth thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve with a piece of crusty bread and you will be in heaven. This is my Chicken Meatball And Kale Stew.

*Slurry is a mixture of a cold liquid with cornstarch, also known as a cornstarch slurry. It’s used as a thickening agent. A typical cornstarch slurry will consist of 2 parts cold water and 1 part cornstarch. A slurry can also be made using equal parts of flour and water.

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