Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Stew

Before I jump into how to make this delicious stew, I wanted to share a new feature of my blog with you: I'll be including Weight Watchers Points values with each recipe.  Why?  Well, because I'm on Weight Watchers (wasn't that obvious?)  And maybe if I proclaim it to the world, I'll feel accountable to more than just myself for sticking to it.  I tried the diet once before, in high school, and it worked out pretty well, so when my dad decided to give it a shot a few weeks ago, I thought I might revisit the regime and shed some extra pounds I've been carrying around for too long.

Confession concluded, now on with the food!

Chicken Tortilla Stew
makes 8 servings (6 points each)

For steamed chicken:
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 4)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 dried red chilis (optional)
1 star anise (optional)
2 tablespoons water

For tortilla strips:
8 corn tortillas (preferably whole grain)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt

For stew:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, chopped
2 fresh jalapeƱo peppers, minced
1/4 cup Chili Powder Blend (see recipe or use store-bought brand of choice)
One 26-ounce box Pomi chopped tomatoes (or a 28-ounce of canned tomatoes)
2 cups water
8 ounces frozen corn kernels, thawed
1.5 cups chopped fresh cilantro
juice from 2 limes
Salt to taste

Cook the chicken: Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Combine the chicken and spices in a medium baking dish.  Sprinkle with salt, pour water around the chicken (not on top of it) and cover tightly.  Steam in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the chicken temperature registers 160F degrees with instant-read thermometer.  Remove to a plate, allow to cool, and shred by hand, discarding spices and any gristle.  Strain cooking juices from baking dish into a small bowl and set aside.

Make the tortilla strips: Slice the tortillas across into thin strips, about 1/4 inch thick.  Slice strips in half lengthwise, so they're about 2 inches long.  Toss with olive oil and salt and spread out on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake until crispy and slightly golden, about 12 minutes.  Baking time will depend greatly on your oven - a good practice is to check after first 5 minutes, then after every couple of minutes, tossing each time to ensure even cooking.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add onions.  Cook over medium-high heat until lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Add garlic, carrot, jalapeƱos, and chili powder and cook another 5 minutes, until vegetables have softened a bit.  Stir in the tomatoes, the reserved chicken cooking juices, and water.  Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer.  Cook with cover another 20 minutes or so.  Stir in the corn, cilantro, and lime juice and season to taste with salt.  Simmer another 5 minutes and serve with tortilla strips on top.

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