Friday, September 4, 2015

Quick and Easy Chicken with Hatch Chiles

Don't get me wrong. This isn't fancy food. This isn't something you'd serve the Queen when she showed up. What this is, very frankly, it the meal you make when you want an hour before dinner to just sit and chill.

Or maybe an hour to help problem child with homework.

This uses (gasp) a can of soup. Yes, there I said it. I was inspired (and possibly frightened) by a recent cookbook that passed this way. It was written by Coolio.

Yes, that Coolio.

He's not a cook, but he wrote a cookbook called Cooking with Coolio, and it's a little weird. He has an odd love for balsamic vinegar, and canned soup made its way into a whole lot of recipes.

So I tried one of the canned-soup concoctions. And you know what? I liked it. It was comfort food. He was also pretty heavy-handed on the salt. Just so you know.

Anyway, this is not one of his recipes; not even adapted. The book is now long gone, so I couldn't peek if I wanted to.

I made this in my slow cooker, which is my usual set-it-and-forget-it cooking tool, but you could also make this in a heavy-bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven, either on the stove or in the oven.

Chicken with Hatch Chile

1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs*
1 red bell pepper
2 fire-roasted and cleaned Hatch** chiles (hot or mild, your choice)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 can cream-of-something** soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chives or the green part of a scallion, for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in your slow cooker (if it's got a stovetop/browning function) or in a pan on the stove. Or in your Dutch oven, if that's what you're using. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until nicely browned. Flip the chicken over and cook the same way on the other side.

You can prep the vegetables while the chicken is browning.

Core the bell pepper and cut into a large dice. It doesn't need to be pretty. This is rustic food. Add to the pot when the chicken is browning on that second side.

Combine the peppers, balsamic vinegar, and water in a blender. Or you can use a stick blender or food processor. No tools like that? Just chop the peppers as finely as you can. Otherwise, blend the pepper mixture until it's as smooth as it can get.

Add the soup, pepper mixture, and salt to the chicken in the slow cooker and give it a stir. Cook on high for 60-90 minutes, depending on how much down time you need before dinner.

I served this with rice - made in my rice cooker. The rice was great for sopping up the extra sauce. Easy peasy.

Garnish the chicken with a few snips of chives or scallion, if desired.

* Of course, you can use other parts. Whatever you like. Cooking time might be different, though. I like thighs for the slow cooker because they're so forgiving as far as overcooking is concerned.

** If you don't happen to have freshly fire-roasted Hatch chiles waiting to be used, you can substitute with whatever you happen to have, or that you like.

*** I used cream of chicken, but you could use cream of mushroom, cream of celery, or even cheddar cheese soup.
Quick and Easy Chicken with Hatch Chiles