Improvisational Crockpot Chicken & Beer Stew

Here’s my favorite thing about cooking, which also happens to be the reason that I hate hate hate baking (which requires precision and adherence to things like “rules”) with a passion: with cooking, once you know the basics, you’re probably OK. And you can adjust whatever it is that you feel like eating to suit things like time constraints and refrigerator contents.

My boys are all on their lonesome for an entire week, and while I’m sure they’ll survive, I’m also sure that Thai food (Kendrick) and scrambled eggs (Indy; what can I say? He’s obsessed) will play a major part in their diet for the next few days. So my plan on Sunday was to make this Easy Crockpot Chicken Stew to leave for them as, you know…a supplement.

Except we got distracted by trips to diners, romps around the backyard and naps, and I forgot that this was my plan until 3PM…which left me with about half the time the recipe requires.

Oh yes, and I couldn’t find chicken stock. Which is kind of important when you’re making chicken stew.

Anyway, no problem: that’s what improvisation is for. What I did: sped up the recipe by half-cooking the chicken in some olive oil before adding it to the crockpot, and then subbing in some beer and ginger ale for the chicken stock. And it totally worked.

IMPROVISATIONAL CHICKEN STEW (serves 3 with plenty of leftovers)

What you need: 

2 packages chicken tenderloins, cut up

3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces

1/2 bag baby carrots

1 onion, sliced

3/4 bottle beer (go for the good stuff; the more flavorful the better)

1/2 can ginger ale

Season salt

Garlic powder

Salt & pepper

What you do: 

1. Season chicken pieces generously with season salt and garlic powder.

2. Heat a pan with olive oil and add chicken; cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes (until they just start to cook through).

3. Throw the chicken into the crockpot with the cut-up vegetables, and pour over the beer and ginger ale. Season with salt and pepper, and give it all a stir.

4. Cook on high for about 2 hours, then on low another hour and a half or so.

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