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    Chicken, sweet potato and barley slow cooker stew

    11:49 AM, Nov 11, 2011   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- We have a great stew recipe to round out crock pot week.

    Chicken, Sweet Potato and Barley Slow Cooker Stew
    Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 3-3 ½ hours

    Ingredients Amount
    Carrots, peeled, sliced 1 large, or 2 small
    Sweet Potatoes, diced 1 small
    Celery, sliced 1 stalk
    Onion, yellow or white 1 small
    Mushrooms, sliced or quartered 5-7 each
    Canned Tomatoes, drained and rinsed 1 cup
    Garlic Cloves, minced 2 each
    Pearled Barley ¾ cup
    Chicken Leg Quarters, skin on, bone in 2 each
    Chicken Stock or Broth 4 cups
    Bay Leaf 1 each
    Thyme, fresh 2-3 Sprigs
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    Sage, fresh, chopped 2 medium leaves

    1. Combine the carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, barley, salt and pepper in a slow cooker and turn it on high.

    2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place it on top of the vegetable and barley mixture.

    3. Pour in the chicken stock and add the bay leaf and thyme. Arrange the chicken into the vegetables and broth so that they are covered by the liquid. Cover and cook for 2 ½ hours or until the internal temperature reaches of the chicken reaches at least 165°F for 15 seconds and the joints are loose.

    4. Remove the chicken and let it cool slightly. Stir the vegetables gently and season to taste. Add the chopped sage. Remove the skin from the chicken and discard it. Pull the meat from the bones and reserve the bones for stock. Add the chicken to the stew, stir and taste once more for seasoning. The total cooking time is about 3 hours.

    5. Serve immediately or turn the slow cooker on warm. The stew should be held at a minimum temperature of 135°F for no more than 2 hours.

    Notes on Food Safety

    When taking the temperature of bone-in meats, make sure your thermometer is not hitting the bone.

    The thermometer should be calibrated and inserted into the middle of the thickest part of the meat.

    If serving foods the next day, make sure you cool it first to a minimum temperature of 70°F within 2 hours and then down to a minimum temperature of 41°F within the next 4 hours. This will prevent the growth of pathogens that could cause foodborne illnesses.

    Previously cooked foods that are re-heated and held hot should be brought to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds within two hours.

    Variations:

    You may use russet potatoes instead of sweet potatoes or brown rice instead of barley. If using quick cooking grains, you should add them in the last hour of cooking.

    Substitute the legs and thighs for breasts if you prefer white meat. The dark meat tends to stay moist compared to the breast meat. Also you can use boneless, skinless meat and dice it prior to cooking.

    For a Brown Stew:

    First season the chicken with salt and pepper, dredge it in flour and brown in a skillet with enough hot oil to come up the meat about half-way. Remove the chicken and any excess grease. Brown the carrots, celery, onions and mushrooms in the pan. Add the garlic but do not brown, then the tomatoes, sweet potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and add the vegetables and broth to the slow cooker. Stir in the barley, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and continue cooking as instructed above.

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