August in January: Corn & Poblano Chicken Stew

Blanched-bright sweet corn. Deep green poblanos. Sungold tomatoes.

Back in late August, I’d tucked vacuum packets of all these bits of summer into our freezer. I had no set plans for them, really, beyond having a bank of reserved sunshine to call on some bitter winter day.

Yesterday wasn’t really all that bitter—sunny and 30s, actually, so no match for last year’s Polar Vortex Chilifest—but it was a busy, errand- and football-filled Sunday.

So before we left the house for what turned out to be a six-hour tour of IKEA, Target, the Italian Market, and an Olde City brewpub to watch the Packers outlast the Cowboys, I unloaded the freezer and loaded the slow cooker.

Frozen Sunshine
Corn, poblanos, and tomatoes: Out of the deep freeze and onto the low heat.

Waiting for us after the game was a rich, fragrant chicken stew that took only about 20 minutes of prep time. Clean-up was a snap, too, with just one pan, the cooker insert, a knife, and a cutting board to wash.

Green and Gold Chicken Stew

Serves 4-6.

All the veggies here were from my CSA or my own garden. The onion and garlic were in our last Fall sharebox (received Christmas week), and I put the corn, tomatoes, and peppers up last summer. The corn had been blanched, shocked, and stripped; I’d frozen the toms on a sheet pan, then loaded them into Ziplocs; and I’d roasted, peeled, and deseeded the peppers before busting out the vacuum sealer. Goodies from your grocer’s freezer aisle are obviously fine, too, as would be fresh. I was going for bright, clean flavors, and I knew my peppers had a lot of fire on their own, so I kept this really simple. But if you feel like going deeper and darker, by all means toss in some cumin, chili powder, or whatever you fancy. 

  • 4 whole, skin-on chicken legs (surely you could use thighs instead)
  • 1-2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups sweet corn (corn from about 4 ears)
  • 3/4 cup chopped, roasted poblano peppers (3-4 medium peppers)
  • 1 pint Sungold or other cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • cilantro (optional)

With a paper towel, pat the chicken as dry as you can (this’ll encourage better browning—and it helps minimize collateral spattering). Bring a large skillet to medium-hot, add the oil, and brown the chicken parts for 3-4 minutes a side.

Less, but better. I’ve pretty much stopped buying meat from anywhere but the co-op or farmers market. These yin-yang legs were in one of my Fall CSA shareboxes.

Lay down a base layer of onions and garlic in the slow cooker. Arrange the chicken atop the aromatics. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter the peppers, corn, and tomatoes over the chicken. Cover, and set the cooker to low.

Low and Slow
Lots of green and gold, coincident with another Packer victory. Nice, aina hey?

Go do other stuff for 5-8 hours.

When it’s ready, the chicken will be falling off the bone. Remove the pieces, and go ahead and pull the meat off; set it aside and discard the bones.

Whisk in the yogurt or sour cream, and crank the heat up to high for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. Return the pulled chicken to the pot. Garnish with a little cilantro, if you like. Serve over rice with warm corn tortillas.

These beauties from Tortilleria San Ramon in Philadelphia’s Italian Market are fresh off the oven belt.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi, Susan! We seriously have utilized the freezer for preserving, as well! Don’t you love tossing all of that summer goodness into your slow cooker, directly from the freezer? It is so gratifying and rewarding. We puréed and froze most all of our tomatoes this past summer and, when we had the time, we would pull the tomatoes from the freezer and make sauce or soup or stew. Now we need a vacuum sealer (we just squeeze the air out manually and suck out the air with a straw – it’s getting old! :-/ Thanks for reminding me that I have some poblanos in my freezer! This recipe sounds delicious. Nice Packers win, too. Boo on my Broncos. Beer and chili help ease the pain! 😉 …do you have a vacuum sealer that you recommend??

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