12/04/2006

Mexican Chicken

(Serves about 4-6)

450g-900g (1lb - 2lb) boneless chicken or turkey pieces
1-2 tblsp vegetable oil (olive oil is best)
2 large onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed, or 1 tsp garlic
2-3 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium can chopped tomatoes in juice or puree
1 medium can or packet (about 1-1½ cups) tomato sauce or paste
1 tsp basil
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼-½ tsp chili powder, depending on strength and preference

Method:
Fry the chicken pieces in the oil, turning constantly, until browned on all sides. Set aside. Fry the onion and garlic in the same pan, adding the chopped carrots and pepper after about a minute. Cook until softened, stirring all the time. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste, and bring to a gentle simmer, still stirring. Add the browned meat and the spices.

Either cover with a loosely fitting lid and simmer gently for about an hour, stirring occasionally, or place the contents of the pan in an ovenproof dish, and bake (covered) in the oven for about an hour.

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If you cook this in the pan on the stove, serve with rice or mashed potatoes; if you cook in the oven, serve with oven-baked potatoes in jackets. This also goes well with sweetcorn, or mixed green salad, and can be topped with natural thick yogurt or tsatsiki.

It's important to use chicken or turkey pieces without bones. Usually I buy individual filletted meat; alternatively you could buy a large turkey breast, and cut it up. The amount you need will vary depending on your family's appetite! This recipe can easily be doubled to serve guests. Adapt quantities of ingredients depending on sizes available, and personal tastes. For instance, if you don't like strong spices, omit the chili powder. We made it once without chili, onion or garlic and it was still a tasty chicken-tomato casserole.

If you have a vegetarian in the family, you can cook the basic sauce and serve it with some cooked beans to serve at the same time as the rest of the family eats this dish.

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