One of our favorite weekend pastimes is a family lunch at a local Le Pain Quotidien. We get to dunk some delicious bread into organic soft boiled eggs of perfect doneness (something I never get right at home) and feast on dark chocolate spread at the end of the meal. We also usually get something seasonal like a soup or tartine to share.
Last weekend, we enjoyed a delicious organic chicken stew, an aromatic combo of chicken, chickpeas and vegetables, served alongside quinoa and harissa. I loved the flavor and texture combinations but missed the spice. So after we got home and simple internet search revealed this recipe from Epicurious, I knew that a new family favorite was about to be born!
Since I wanted to cook the stew longer to allow the flavors fully develop and “marry”, I decided to substitute chicken breasts with chicken thighs. I would even consider buying bone-in thighs that hold up to long cooking better and are actually cheaper that boneless. I also boosted fiber in this recipe by doubling the amount of chickpeas and adding some root veggies for added sweetness and nutrition.
I had to go to work next day, so I seared the chicken, sauteed the onions with garlic and tomatoes in the evening, combined them with the rest of the ingredients in a Dutch oven and left it in the fridge overnight. When I got home the next evening, I only had to put the stew on the stove top and wait for the irresistible mouth watering aromas to start coming from under the lid.
Needless to say, we had a very nice meal that night :). I served the stew family style, as usual, with some cous cous and a simple green salad and everyone helped themselves happily. I used plenty of spices in the recipe but it did not make the dish hot, so kids could enjoy it as much as adults. I would have added some red chili flakes if I was cooking just for me and my husband but hey, having kids is all about finding compromise, isn’t it?
- 1.5 pounds boneless chicken thighs
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ cups chopped onion
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes, drained
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup roughly chopped parsnips
- 1 cup roughly chopped carrots
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
- Heat oil in the Dutch oven. Season the chicken thighs with half of the salt and pepper and brown them on both sides, turning once, for about 2 minutes per side.
- Remove the chicken and keep it warm.
- Cook onion in same Dutch oven, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
- Add tomatoes, cumin and cinnamon; cook, stirring, 2 minutes more.
- Transfer the chicken to the Dutch oven; add chickpeas, broth, parsnips and carrots and remaining salt and pepper.
- Simmer, covered for 40 minutes.
- Serve the stew with couscous.
- Garnish with cilantro or parsley.