Now this recipe was one that was made for the mountains. But before I get into the recipe, I have to give a shout out to the old school crockpot that I have been cooking my past three meals in. This is a 1970s original that belongs to my father, and is the definition of vintage. I sent this photo to some of my friends, and one even asked if it was safe to cook in, which it is. The colors are what make this crockpot seem dated, but it works just as well as the more recent models, just missing some newer modifications like the fact that the pot part of the crockpot can’t be removed.
But onto the chicken sausage stew.
– ~ 2 lbs of chicken (breasts and thighs)
– 12 oz of chicken apple sausage
– 2 tbsp olive oil (This would be because I had a mistake, it should really be 1)
– 1 large onion minced
– 6 cloves of garlic minced
– 1 tbsp tomato paste
– 1/2 tsp dried thyme
– A pinch of red pepper flakes
– 3 tbsp gluten free flour
– 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth (low sodium, reduce fat and gluten free)
– 2 Bay leaves
– 1 29 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
– 8 oz spinach thawed and drained
– Parmesan for serving
This recipe also called for me to use a skillet (I am really beginning to broaden my horizon when it comes to my crock pot skills apparently). So lets get my first uh-oh out of the way. I am not used to having to use a skillet when making my crockpot concoctions, so when I read that I needed a tablespoon of olive oil, I automatically put it in the crockpot. That’s when I read that I was supposed to put the olive oil in the skillet, so whoopsies.
Again, reading the recipe before cooking is important. So then I actually followed the recipe, and put the other tablespoon in the skillet. Next I seared the chicken, browning all sides. This made me begin to think, in a lot of my other recipes I have not been browning my chicken, but was I suppose to be? I have found (through both internet research and personal experience) that chicken thighs cook very well in a crockpot and if chicken breasts are cut into smaller pieces, they remain juicer than not. So I am a bit confused as to why I need to brown chicken for this recipe and the one posted before. And then I realized that I usually cook most of my crockpot dishes with chicken for 8 hours, but these past two dishes have called for 4 – 6 hours of cooking, so the chicken needs to be pre-cooked/prepped.
Moving on, I cut up my onion into minced pieces (and man oh man were my eyes watering, to the point where I had to ask for help from my mom) and minced the garlic previous to cooking the chicken, because immediately post chicken I needed to put in the onion. I added the onion with some more olive oil until the onions became slightly browned. Then I added the tomato paste, garlic, dried thyme, red pepper flakes and flour. Quick side note, who knew that there were so many ways tomato could be made ie into paste, puree, sauce, just plain tomatoes? I really wonder who made all of these forms of tomatoes available for cooking and how, but that is for another time. At this point, I made a sauce that smelled really delicious, but to be honest I was not sold on the taste, as it looked very thick. The original recipe called for either 1/2 cup of dried wine at this point or chicken broth, and I opted for the chicken broth for two reasons: 1) one less item to shop for and 2) it got me out of the store quickly, which was what I needed the day I was shopping (what I called in a previous post as the Christmas Eve Rush). So to loosen up the “sauce” (I’m not sure what the formal name would be for this mixture), I added half a cup of broth slowly to the simmering sauce. After a couple of minutes, I poured in 1 cup of broth and stirred that in, making sure to get all of the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet and poured this all into the slow cooker.
Once all of it was in the slow cooker, I added in the last two cups of chicken broth, the bay leaves, and the cannellini beans and put the slow cooker on low for 6 hours. I made this dish without the intention of eating it right away for two reasons: 1) we had reservations that night and 2) because the chicken was going to go bad soon. So I put this in the crockpot before my parents were having a party as this was the only time I had to cook the dish that day, and truthfully I forgot about it for about 6.5 hours. That’s when I finally remembered the dish and added the last two ingredients of thawed and drained spinach and the chicken sausage. The only thing I was worried about was the sausage. I have learned that most sausages are pre-cooked, so I just added the sausage without pre-cooking it. Thirty minutes later, I turned off the slow cooker and let it cool. Once at room temperature, I transferred the stew into a bowl to sit in the fridge over night to be eaten at a later date.
Huge hit! Literally everyone loved it. Great for the family, and ample amount of food for a post- ski lunch!
The Nitty Gritty:
– Total Cost: $35.00
– Total Time: 30 minutes prep, 7 hours cooking, 7.5 hours
– Serving Size: 8 – 10 bowls