Chickpea Stew with Chicken: Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Aunt Suzy says . . .

Margaux and I are on the lookout for good recipes using shredded chicken.  I was looking for something new to make but that would be fast and easy on a busy Sunday. I love all the flavors in this stew, so thought I’d give it a whirl.  It was a hit!  Randy and I both agreed that I should double the recipe next time – we barely had a small lunch portion left after eating.  We served it with a salad, baguette and some a Pinot Gris wine.  Since spring is seeming like it is not going to show up this year, this warming dish was especially welcome on a cold and snowy day.

Margaux says . . .

This dish was a hit in our house, too!  We always love bean stews, so I knew it would probably get gobbled up.  At Aunt Suzy’s suggestion, I made a double recipe, and I’m glad I did.  It was the perfect amount for dinner and then lunch for Desi and me the next day.

When I made this, I misread the recipe and used bone-in chicken, and it was really good, if  a little greasy.  I just skimmed as much of the extra fat off the top as I could.  This would be a great recipe to use for leftover shredded chicken, I would just use chicken broth instead of water, and add the chicken at the end with the red peppers, etc.  It would also be good vegetarian, eliminating the chicken altogether.  In that case, I would maybe use more red pepper.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

3 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

4 cups water or chicken stock or a combination

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup roasted red peppers from a jar, drained and sliced into 1-inch pieces

Juice of ½ lemon, or more

1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt; add to the pot and cook, turning once, until browned, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to low and let oil cool slightly; add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 30–60 seconds. Add cumin, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes; stir until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute.  Add the liquid, the reserved chicken with any accumulated juices and the bay leaves.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat  and simmer, uncovered, occasionally stirring, until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool slightly. Add chickpeas to pot; bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Shred the chicken.  Add the chicken, red peppers, half the herbs and lemon juice; simmer for a couple of minutes until heated through. Season with salt and more lemon juice, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with more of the herbs.

Margaux says

This dish is a staple in our household.  The chicken is perfect: juicy, flavorful and perfectly cooked every time.   The carrots are super delicious…my husband, who doesn’t like cooked carrots, even loves them.  It’s also very easy to make, and can be a relatively quick weeknight meal.  You need to have the preserved lemons in order to make this (I made it without them once and the chicken wasn’t nearly as good!).  If Meyer lemons aren’t available (and they’re not right now…they’re only in season from February-April), you can use regular lemons.   And you can buy preserved lemons in some stores, like Whole Foods, but they’re not NEARLY as good as homemade.

Aunt Suzy says

I also love this recipe and Margaux is reminding me that we have not made this in a long, long time!  I just noticed carrots available for the first time at the farmer’s market last weekend, so I have a hunch this will be on our menu soon.  The original recipe for this did not call for preserved lemon, instead calling for thin slices of lemon placed over the chicken.  I’ve made it both ways and like it with the preserved lemon better – but then I love preserved lemon!!  Sparkle Rice seems to be a perfect match for this dish, but I’ve been thinking of experimenting with Isreali Couscous lately as a side dish.  The original recipe suggested an off-dry riesling or a rose – either is perfect!

MOROCCAN-STYLE CHICKEN WITH SPICED CARROTS

Serves 4

The Carrots

6-8 large carrots

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon coriander seeds

¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

pinch cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

Peel the carrots.  Using a study vegetable peeler, cut carrots into lengthwise ribbons.


Toast the cumin seeds lightly and then crush in a mortar and pestle.  Toast the coriander seeds. (I toast them together and crush both.)   Toss the carrots with all remaining ingredients and place in a 9×13 baking dish.  Bake at 500 degrees in the upper third of the oven, uncovered, for 7 minutes – stir after 4 minutes.

The Chicken and Finishing

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs OR 4 boneless, skinless breast halves (we always use breasts)

1/8” wide strips of preserved lemon (or thin slices of whole lemon, cut cross-wise)

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (we always use more, but then we’re cilantro lovers!)

Brush the chicken lightly with olive oil and place on top of the carrots after they have baked per above.  Place the strips of preserved lemon or fresh lemon slices on top of the chicken.  Put back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes more (depending on thickness of the breasts), until the juices run clear.  Don’t overcook.  Place chicken on a platter.  Toss the carrots with the cilantro and place beside the chicken on the platter.

Sparkle Rice

Sauté in a little vegetable oil until soft – 2-4 garlic cloves, minced; 1-2 tablespoons chopped ginger; 1 medium onion, diced; 2 carrots, diced.

Add 2 cups white basmati rice and sauté till translucent.  Add a little less than 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth and 5 whole cloves and a 2-inch piece of cinnamon.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till the broth is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Let sit for a few minutes, then remove the cloves and cinnamon and stir to blend.  Add some golden raisins if you wish.