This dish is a classic because it’s so tasty. The addition of broccoli to the traditional ingredients adds flavor as well as nutrients. Serve this over hot polenta or pasta for a delicious meal.
Yield: MAKES 6 SERVINGS
2 tbsp (25 ml) olive oil, divided
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano leaves, crumbled
½ tsp (2 ml) salt
½ tsp (2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
8 oz (250 g) cremini mushrooms
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine or chicken stock
1 (28 oz/796 ml)can tomatoes, including juice, coarsely chopped
12 skinless bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 lbs/1.5 kg)
2 dried red chile peppers, optional
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 cups (1 l) broccoli florets, blanched
Large (minimum 5 quart) slow cooker
1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the olive oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and toss to coat. Add white wine and tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil.
2. Arrange chicken over bottom of slow cooker stoneware. Cover with sauce. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a heatproof serving dish and keep warm in oven.
3. In a skillet, heat remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add chile peppers, if using, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce from slow cooker stoneware and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Add broccoli and cook until heated through. Combine with chicken and serve.
I like to use Italian San Marzano tomatoes when making this recipe because they have more flavor than domestic varieties. If you can’t find them, add 1 tbsp (15 ml) tomato paste, along with the tomatoes.
This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked. Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, continue with Steps 2 and 3.
Mindful Morsels: Not only are the mushrooms in this recipe very low in calories, they are also a good source of potassium, which helps control blood pressure, and zinc, which helps the immune system to function.
Natural Wonders: COMBINING FOODS
Eating a variety of foods with a view toward maximizing the range of nutrients we consume has long been recognized as a healthy eating strategy. Now scientists are telling us there is even more reason to enjoy a varied diet. The more we learn about the phytochemicals in food, the more we understand that the relationships among the various components of foods also play a role in their healthful properties. Different phytochemicals interact with different organs, tissues and cells, and studies are now showing that foods interact synergistically. For instance, while tomatoes and broccoli have both been identified as cancer fighters, tomatoes rely on lycopene to do this job and broccoli uses glucosinolates. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that rats fed broccoli and tomatoes together had less tumor growth than those eating a diet containing either food alone. Another study done by Britain’s Institute of Food Research combined broccoli and chicken. Chicken is high in the mineral selenium, and broccoli contains sulforaphone, both of which have cancer-fighting properties. Researchers found the combination of broccoli and chicken was up to 13 times more powerful than when either food was consumed alone.