Colombian Chicken and Vegetable Stew
- SERVINGS: 4
Although Leticia Robledo leaves the chicken pieces whole when she serves the stew, some people find it easier to eat if you pull the meat off the bones before serving.
- 9 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 large bunch of cilantro (about 6 ounces), 1/2 cup chopped, the rest tied together with string
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
- Large pinch of saffron threads
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 chicken (3 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
- 3/4 pound small potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 3/4 pound frozen yuca, thawed and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 3/4 pound carrots, cut into thick rounds
- 1 green plantain, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 2 ears of corn, shucked and cut into 2-inch rounds
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
- In a large heavy casserole, combine chicken stock with the onion, garlic, cilantro and cumin. Crumble in the saffron threads and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, season the stock with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken thighs, legs and wings and simmer for 15 minutes; do not let the stock boil. Add the chicken breasts and simmer until all of the meat is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes longer.
- Remove the chicken from the casserole and let cool. Discard the cilantro. Skin the chicken and, if desired, pull the meat off the bones. Skim the fat from the soup.
- Twenty minutes before serving, bring the soup to a simmer. Add the potatoes, yuca, carrots and plantain and simmer over moderate heat for 12 minutes. Add the corn and chicken and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes longer. Season generously with salt and pepper. Ladle the stew into large bowls, garnish with the avocado and serve.
For this South American chicken dinner, serve a crisp, fruity South American white, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, to contrast with the meaty broth and earthy corn bread. Or serve a full-flavored Mexican beer, such as Dos Equis.