Zarzuela !

20 01 2011

What ??

Zarzuela is Spanish for a comic opera… and it also refers to this stew sometimes made with seafood, but today, with chicken. I think zarzuela sounds like the “possessed” Sigourney Weaver from Ghostbusters .. ZULE !

Grabbed this from the Food Network website, from a recipe Emeril does with fish and morphed it with a recipe from Canadian Living, for the crock pot. I sometimes dread using “crock pot” recipes as they are never one pot meals…. whenever a crock pot recipe starts with “take out saute pan and saute onions, brown meat” etc etc.. I do an *eye roll*. Those sorts of crock pot recipes are actually “Hey, let’s cook the dish before hand and throw it all in the slow cooker for a couple of hours to meld the flavours”. SO annoying. WARNING : This IS one of those crock pot recipes, only because I can’t take what the crock pot does with onions.. they never cook properly, as they almost boil, instead of caramelize.

This recipe, post consumption, reminds me of a twist on the Post G20 Black Bean and chicken dish. It has a couple of tweeks to make it slightly different, and I am really digging the nuttiness from the almond meal. This is totally Jess friendly.. no dairy, no cheese, no kidding.

Zarzuela w/ Chicken
adapted from Emeril’s recipe on Food Network

2 lbs of chicken thighs (about 8 thighs)
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup of chicken broth
1 tsp of sweet paprika
1 tsp of smoky paprika
1/2 tsp of mexician oregano (or any oregano handy)
1 can (28 oz) can of tomatoes (drained if crock pot, not if dutch oven)

1/4 tsp of saffron threads, soaked in 2 tbsp water
3 tbsp of ground almonds
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup of green olives, pitted and chopped
2 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley

I intended to throw all of this in the crock pot in the morning and add the second half of the ingredients 30 minutes before serving. Putting in fresh parsley, and green olives for 9 hours on low would make them mush.

The night before I sauted the onions and garlic in olive oil until brown and yummy. Add the white wine vinegar and broth and let it simmer and absorb into the onions until there is very little liquid left. Add all the spices in the top half of the recipe, allow them to cook off for 2 – 3 minutes and throw the whole fragrant mixture into tupperware and into your fridge. (you dont need to do this, like i said, i didnt want to be saute-ing onions first thing in the morning).

Rise and Shine the next day, I plop in 8 meaty chicken thighs (2 lbs), one can of tomatoes (28oz-drained of juice), and the fragrant and spiced onion-garlic mixture. Give it a quick stir and set it on low for the day.

Fast forward to after work. I take the lid off my crock pot, crank it on high. I throw saffron in 2 tbsp of warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes. In the interim I chop up the green olives, parsley, lemon juice, tomatoe paste all into the slow cooker, add the saffron with the juice, give it a quick stir and let it bubble for 20 minutes. At this point you can assess whether it is too juicy or not, if it is, leave the cover off for the 20 minutes, if it is just right, pop the lid on for the remaining 20 minutes.

This was mine, without draining tomatoes.. too much juice. So I drained it out before I added how much it would make. 8 cups post juice.

This makes 8 cups of stew, 16 WLS servings. I served this with a lemon squirt.

Nuts on this 144 calories, 7.5g of fat, 3.66 carbs, 2g of fiber, AND 14.5g of protein.

Things I would tweek… maybe throw in half a cured-dried chorizo to make it a bit more smokey, as well as sub in smoky paprika in the whole dish, as the sweet paprika gets lost.

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