Thursday, August 29, 2013

This Geek Girl Can Cook!

What do you do when writer's block hits? For me, I have a long list of  'clear your head' activities, and one of those tried and true activities is cooking. I love to cook, probably because one of the great loves of my life is food. So from here on out I'm gonna be sharing some of my favorite recipes.
Here's a quick fact about myself...I'm 50% Irish and 50% mutt. That mutt part of me has some Scottish, a bit of Native American, a peppering of French, a hint of Swedish, a spoonful of Dutch, and spattering of German. And it's the German and Swedish part of my heritage that has primarily defined the culinary education given to me by my two wonderful and talented grandmothers, who taught me everything there is to know about cooking and baking. So, because of that, the very first recipe I'm going to share is an old German dish (at least that's what was told to me by my grandma) called Sauerkraut Stew. If, like me, you enjoy the tangy taste of sauerkraut then you will love this. If you wanna broaden your culinary horizons and try a new and zesty dish, then give this baby a try. Now on to the recipe -

*little side note before we begin - the original recipe calls for pork, but I use chicken since I don't eat any red meat (and yes I consider pork red meant no matter what the commercials say), plus its a nice healthy substitute. 

Sauerkraut Stew 

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or approx 6 skinless chicken tenderloins)
  •  1 green bell pepper
  •  1 medium sized white onion
  •  1 32oz jar of sauerkraut
  •  1 14.5oz can of stewed tomatoes
  •  1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes (It doesn't really matter if you get seasoned or not. Sometimes I'll get the basil, oregano, and garlic ones...just to add an extra pop of flavor)
  •  Approx 3/4 cup of flour
  •  Approx 1/4 cup of olive oil
  •  Salt and pepper     

Cut up chicken into bite sized pieces. Season approx 3/4 cup of flour with pepper and just a tiny bit of salt, since sauerkraut itself is very salty. Lightly dredge the chicken pieces in seasoned flour. Pour olive oil into the bottom of a pan and lightly brown chicken pieces on medium low heat.
Chop green pepper and onion up into small pieces. Once the chicken has browned remove it from the pan and set aside. Add chopped onion and pepper straight into the hot pan and let sweat (this will only take a minute or two).
Drain sauerkraut and add to the pan. Drain both stewed and diced tomatoes and set the drained juice aside. Add tomatoes to the sauerkraut and drop heat down to low. Add chicken.
You want the stew to cook for at least 20 min, but the longer it cooks the better it tastes (sometimes my grandma will leave it on the stove for an hour or two). You'll want to add some of drained tomato juice as it continues to cook. It's up to you how moist you want the dish.
My grandma always serves it up with mini bagels. I don't know why and for some reason I've never asked...probably because I'll take any reason you give me to eat a mini bagel.
Now I'm ready to crank out the next chapter of my book...or procrastinate and watch youtube videos a good few hours. 
All the ingredients you'll need.
Finely chopped veggies.

Trimmed and chopped chicken. I trim it pretty well and then cook up and give all the bits I deem 'yucky' to my dogs.

Drained tomato juice set aside. I usually end up using almost all of it as the liquid cooks down in the stew.

Delicious finished product - with mini bagel.

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