Sweet potato chicken soup for the soul

Recipe inspired by: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/218769/slow-cooker-chicken-marrakesh/

Recipe made by: Robbie Shorr

Slow cookers need to be used more by the college student population. Period. I myself had only used my slow cooker for cholent until I saw the light with this chicken stew. All the preparation that’s needed for this delicious dish is some cutting and spicing, and you have a hardy meal. When I set out to make this dish I wasn’t exactly sure where it would end up falling on the soup-stew spectrum, but the liquid thickened just enough to strike the perfect balance. However, the area where the balance could’ve been better is flavor, as the broth was a bit too sweet and not spicy enough for even my taste. That being said, the flavors of the base ingredients are most definitely good enough for some basic spice tinkering to bring this dish to the next level.

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 sweet potatoes, cut into 1-cubes
  • 6 big carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rings
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (this is the standard size)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Tumeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Add the chicken, sweet potatoes, onion, carrots, and chickpeas to a slow cooker. Season with the salt, pepper, cumin, tumeric, cinnamon, and garlic powder.
  2. Pour the maple syrup and water over all of the ingredients.
  3. Cook on high for 4.5 to 6 hours, or until the sweet potatoes achieve the desired tenderness and the broth begins to thicken.

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Why this recipe is good for college students: Just like all slow cooker dishes, this stew allows for a minimal amount of active cooking as well as an easy cleanup (if you use a slow cooker liner, which I highly recommend). However, there is an additional perk of using a slow cooker which was especially helpful when making this dish: the ability to taste and tinker during cooking. This was the first time I had made this dish, and I tasted some of the broth while the stew was cooking to make sure it was achieving the desired consistency, as well as to add certain spices as needed to alter the flavor. This is a great feature of slow cookers which is especially useful for less experienced cooks as well as those who are too rushed to actually measure spices, two characterizations which can generally be made about college students.

Why this recipe is good for those who keep Kosher: This stew was able to thicken quite nicely without any dairy at all, something which cannot be said about all soups and stews.

What I would do differently if I made this recipe again

  • As I mentioned above, this dish was a bit too sweet. Now, the simplest way to cut this sweetness would be to cut out the maple syrup, but the maple syrup also functions as a thickener. If I was to make this dish again I would replace half of the maple syrup with ketchup, as this would provide a thickener which is somewhat sweet but also carries some acidity.
  • In the same vein of enhancing flavor, I would make sure to season the chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper before adding them to the slow cooker.
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