Mexican Chicken Stew
My father was an engineer; a smart and precise man who had his weekend rituals. About once a month, I’d find my father at the kitchen table on a weekend afternoon sharpening the kitchen knives.
He’d have a sharpening stone in front of him set on a spread of newspaper print. He had a little can of oil that looked like a miniature version of the oil can used to loosen up the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, and he’d have an assortment of knives. From paring knife to carving knife, he’d sharpen them all. It took him probably an hour to do six knives.
He’d squirt a strip of oil across the stone. He’d spread that oil out in a thin layer and begin methodically sweeping the blade of the knife along the stone. Back and forth. Back and forth. Top tip to bottom edge where the blade meets the handle. That motion would sharpen both sides of the blade. The idea was to keep the knife at the perfect angle so the edge got sharpened without scraping away too much of the blade. My father was a whiz at it. A regular wizard of knives.
When I asked him why he sharpened the knives so often he came back with an answer. He told me, “A sharp knife is a safe knife.”
That seemed counter-intuitive. Sharp knives cut more easily than dull knives. Right? Sharp knives seem dangerous.
Mexican Chicken Stew
This is a great Zola to Go! dish, perfect for those cold days for lunch.
3 large, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tsp of chopped garlic (jar garlic will work)
1 Tbl of dried oregano
1 tsp of ground cumin
½ of a poblano pepper, diced
1 medium banana pepper, diced
1 small can of tomato paste
6 large dashes (blurps, I call them) of Worcestershire sauce
4 cups of organic chicken stock or broth
1 lime or 2 Tbl of lime juice olive oil spray
In a medium sauté pan add the chicken breasts and enough water to cover them almost to the top. Heat to a low boil and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until no pink remains in the middle. Turn them at the halfway point. Remove from the water bath and let drain. Then shred the chicken. I just pull it apart with two forks. Go with the grain for longer shreds.
In a medium soup pot add some of the olive oil spray and then add the onion. Cook until the onion loosens. Add the garlic, oregano, and cumin. Stir and heat until the spices are aromatic (the smell will come up to your nose and you can whiff it in). Then add the pepper bits, the tomato paste, Worcestershire and the broth. Stir to break up the tomato paste so you have a light red broth. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes on medium so it bubbles along and begins to thicken. The pepper bits will cook and you’ll have your finished product.
Just before serving add the lime juice and stir. Serving size is 1.5 cups. You can have an additional half cup of veggies and salad greens if you wish.