Here is a recipe to warm your kitchen and your tummy, a tender, fall-off-the-bone “stewed” chicken. It is delicious as is, on top of salad, with a grain, in tacos… you can use it as the base for another dish; lasagna, enchilada, casserole… If your pot (I use one of those enameled cast iron Dutch Ovens) is big enough, double the amount of chicken in the recipe and freeze the rest for another meal. I’m sure this recipe would also be great cooked in a slow cooker, or better yet, in your InstaPot!
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Carrots, chopped
1 cup chopped Celery
2 cloves Garlic
1 fresh Chili Pepper**
Salt & Pepper to taste (1 tsp Salt, 1/2 tsp Pepper, is a good starting place)
½ bunch of fresh Cilantro
2 tsp dried Oregano
2 Bay Leaves
½ cup liquid***
All measurements in this recipe are approximate, adjust to suit your own taste. Always use the highest quality, freshest, ingredients you have access to. The quality of the ingredients you put into your cooking directly impacts the quality of your finished dish. You are what you eat ate, so if it’s available and you can afford it, try to use organic, pastured chicken.
* You can leave the chicken whole, or section it up. 2 lbs chicken thighs, or bone-in skin on breasts work great too.
**I like to use Poblano or Anaheim chilis, but Serrano and Jalapeno also work great. Go with the heat level you like, or skip the chili.
***I used ¼ cup red wine and ¼ cup water, put beer, or broth, or plain water would all work.
Chop your Onion, Carrots, and Celery. Mince your garlic and let it sit on the side of your cutting board until you are ready to use it (apparently garlic becomes more nutritious if you let it rest for 10 minutes, after chopping/crushing/slicing/pressing, before you cook with it.)
Begin heating whatever pot you are going to use – I recommend using a Dutch Oven – over medium-high heat. Once hot, add your Oil, followed by your Oregano and Garlic. Let this mix sauté for about 2 minutes. Make sure your heat isn’t too high, you don’t want to burn your garlic. Now add your Onion, Celery, and Carrot. Give everything a good stir and let it sauté for 5 minutes. Nestle your Chicken, breast side down into your pan, trying to get the skin to touch the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle with half the Salt & Pepper. Let the chicken brown (this will take about 6 minutes). Now flip your bird and sprinkle on the other half of your Salt & Pepper. Slice your Orange and lay the slices on your chicken. Add your Bay Leaves and liquid. Lower the flame to low and let your chicken cook for 1 – 1 ½ hours.
If you want to use a slow-cooker, you would finish browning your chicken, then place everything into your slow-cooker, and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
I have found that on the stove-top in a Dutch Oven (a heavy enameled cast-iron pot with a tight-fitting lid) that ½ cup is plenty of liquid for this recipe. If you are using a slow cooker, 1 – 1 ½ cups of liquid might be better. Also, the 1 ½ hours of stove-top cooking time is an estimate. I usually start checking the chicken after an hour, then check every 10 minutes. It is done when the chicken shreds when poked with a fork.
If using an InstaPot; follow the steps for sautéing and browning your chicken pieces. Use 1 – 1 ½ cups of liquid. Then set everything to cook at high pressure for 25 minutes.