Foodie Tuesday: Italian Slow Cooker Chicken & Summer Veggie Stew


Ingredients and final dish for chicken stew with eggplant, artichoke hearts, kumatos and kaleWho has time to spend preparing substantial meal on a weekday?  We don’t.  So that’s when we turn to our slow-cooker, otherwise known as a crock pot.

Today’s stew is a seasonal celebration for your mouth!  It takes advantage of some of midsummer’s great produce – tomatoes, eggplant, and basil, while also having the advantage of using ready-made items, like canned artichoke hearts and your favorite commercial spicy tomato sauce (we like Trader Giotto’s Puttanesca Sauce).  The recipe calls for homemade pesto, but a good fresh pesto sauce from the grocery store would do just as nicely.

This recipe was inspired by fastPaleo.com’s Paleo Chicken and Eggplant No ParmigianaWe’ve added canned chickpeas to up the folate and fiber content (yes, we know, they’re not paleo).  We’ve also added a couple of fresh tomatoes, and recommend stirring in pre-washed baby kale when you first get home – this will allow it to wilt but retain it’s fresh green color and high folate content.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Summer Veggie Stew

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 6-8 hours
Makes 4 servings, 100 mcg folate (25% RDA) per serving

STEW INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 lbs chicken (boneless breasts and thighs)
  • 2 small japanese-style eggplants, halved & sliced 1 inch thick
  • 2 medium tomatoes (we love the brown/red Kumatos)
  • 1 can low-sodium chickpeas, drained of liquids
  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups spicy marinara sauce
  • 2 cups pre-washed and chopped baby kale

To make the stew:

  1. Layer the first 5 ingredients in the crockpot, beginning with the chicken and ending with the artichoke hearts.
  2. Pour first the spicy marinara sauce and then the chicken stock over all. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  3. During the last half-hour of cooking, stir in the chopped baby kale.
  4. Servie, topped with pesto sauce.

PESTO INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • three handfuls of basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper to taste

To make the pesto:

  1. Place olive oil, basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor.
  2. Blend to a pesto consistency.
  3. Place a couple of tablespoons of pesto on each serving.

To make this a full meal, just add a slice of crusty bread and your favorite red wine or ice tea, then top it off with some grilled peaches for dessert!  Yum!

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