Here in the United States, and I am sure in many other parts of the world as well, we live in a throw-away society and sadly, this applies to a lot of foods too. This breaks my heart, especially when so many people around the world would love to have the foods we throw away. We are so programmed that if something doesn’t look “perfect” or is different than what we are used to, then it won’t taste “perfect” either. But this is not true at all. In fact, it is just the opposite. Here are some examples: 1) When bananas start to brown, people throw them away, but those are just what you need for making banana breads or mashing them up to use for baking. 2) When bread dries out it is often thrown away, when instead it could be turned into either croutons or as a stuffing or bread pudding. And 3) When salsa starts getting a bit vinegary, use it for a sauce. After all, when making tomato sauces, you often add either wine or vinegar or both anyway, so why not add a vinegary salsa as well. By no means am I suggesting to eat foods that are not edible and have gone bad. I am just saying that just because they no longer look “pretty” doesn’t mean that are not still usable in different ways. Necessity is so often the mother of invention, and waste not want not.
We eat a lot of salsa in our house, but there are times when we just can’t get through it quick enough and sometimes, even though it is still well within the “use-by dates”, it just has a bit more of a vinegary taste than what we like for either eggs or chips and salsa. This was the case the other day. So I used it my sauce and made a delicious spicy Mexican chicken stew with it. I would much rather use it in another way if at all possible than throw it away.
Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew
2 lbs chicken pieces, skin on
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1-2 jalapenos, diced fine
2-3 cups salsa
3-4 tomatoes, diced medium
1 TBSP ancho chili pepper
1-2 TBSP garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1/2 cup dry red wine
2- TBSP lime olive oil, optional
olive oil and butter for cooking
salt & cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Get a Dutch oven very hot and add the butter, olive oil and lime olive oil (if using) then add the chicken and brown completely, about 6-7 minutes per side.
Once the chicken is browned, remove it from the heat and set aside. Add the peppers, onions and garlic to the oil and saute for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
Add the chicken and place on top of the vegetables. Then add the salsa, tomatoes, wine and the spices.
Mix everything together well, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cilantro right at the very end and incorporate it into the sauce. Then serve over cooked rice. I also added some rolls and of course, more wine. I served it with a smooth and fruity Malbec.
The chicken was so tender and tasty. It literally just melted in our mouths.
Be bold. Walk on the wild side a bit and stray from the norms. Think outside of the box a bit. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. 🙂
Stay safe and stay well Everyone, and to all a very Happy Thanksgiving.