Spring Break Comfort Food

I'm ready for warmer weather. I'm ready to find my gardening gloves and dig in the dirt. I'm ready to fire up the grill and sit in the backyard while dinner cooks. I'm ready to find the grass with my toes and bid farewell to winter. Thing is, winter's not quite on board with that plan yet. So I'm looking for a fusion of comfort food and a warm weather destination. I need some amazing Mexican stew:

This is Guisada al Pollo - a hearty chicken and potato stew that's seasoned with smoky peppers and roasted tomatoes. It's stick-to-your-ribs cuisine with enough flavor to wake up your tastebuds and get you ready for warmer weather … even if it's not sandal weather yet. And, like many other types of Mexican cuisine, this stew gets an element of personalization when it comes time to serve it. Condiments like pickled red onions, smoky chopped chipotles, and rich sour cream can help you customize your meal to suit your tastes.

Cornbread or tortillas are well-suited to being served alongside this rich stew. I also like to have a plate of citrus on hand to add a bit of tang and sweetness alongside this dish. Then, wash it all down with your favorite Mexican beer or even a chilled lemonade. Don't worry - warmer weather is just around the corner!

Guisada al Pollo (Chicken and Potato Stew)

  • 1⁄4 c. canola oil
  • 1 1⁄2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried epazote or thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1⁄2" cubes
  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced roasted tomatoes in juice
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained
  • For serving: sour cream, lime juice, pickled red onions, chopped chipotles in adobo sauce, pureed roasted jalapeno, sliced green onions, etc.

Heat the oil in a 6-qt. stockpot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and working in batches, add to pan, and cook, turning once, until it is browned on both sides and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let it cool; using a fork, finely shred the meat and set aside.

Return the stockpot to the heat, and add the onion and carrot; cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the cumin, epazote or thyme, garlic, and chipotles, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved shredded chicken back to the pan along with the potatoes, stock, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve with your choice of condiments and enjoy!

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

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