One of our favorite weekend pastimes is a family lunch at a local cafe. 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 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 a 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 to 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 than 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 stovetop 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 couscous 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 the 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.