healthy slow-cooker recipe of the week: chicken in wine with sun-dried tomatoes

When it comes to soups and stews, there is a seemingly endless number of variables that can be changed to create new variations of any given dish. If you like chicken stew, for example, you could experiment with different combinations of vegetables, different seasonings, better (or quicker) stocks, fresh herbs - and then with various combinations of all of those. Since buying my slow-cooker some months ago, I've made lots of different chicken stews, all of them easy, tasty, and healthy. This one is my current favourite combo.

A note about these stews. To make a proper stew, most people use some sort of thickener. You can dredge the meat in flour, or add corn starch, flour, tapioca, bread crumbs, or even oatmeal to the liquid. I don't do this. For me, thick means gloppy; I don't like it. Plus, I prefer not to add gluten or additional calories to any dish.

If you prefer a thick stew, you'll want to thicken any of my recipes. Or you could try one of the three ways I serve these dishes: either as a main-dish broth soup, or by serving with a slotted spoon and/or tongs without the liquid, spooning on a bit of broth for moisture and flavour, or by serving with brown rice or pasta to absorb the liquid and flavour the starch.

Since this version has potatoes, and you probably wouldn't want both potatoes and rice, so either of the first two options would work.

4 chicken drumsticks and 4 chicken thighs, skin removed
3-4 carrots, sliced thickly
1 medium onion, cut in eight pieces (quartered then quartered again)
20 tiny red potatoes (if they are larger, cut them in half, ending up with about 20 pieces)
2 ribs celery, cut lengthwise, then sliced thickly
about 10 crimini mushrooms, halved or quartered
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes, not in oil
1 cup red wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
thyme OR cumin
salt & pepper

Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and either thyme or cumin but not both. Brown well in skillet. Add to slower cooker.

Add all other ingredients directly to slow-cooker. Stir to combine.

Cook on slow for four hours. Remove chicken and keep warm. Continue cooking broth and vegetables for another 2-4 hours, depending on how soft you want the vegetables, re-adding chicken to the pot for the last half-hour.

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