Baby, it’s cold outside! It’s been a chilly couple of weeks by Southern California standards. Whenever the weather gets like this, I start thinking about stews, roasts, gratins and slow cooked meals… warm, cozy dishes that take the edge off the frost. This stew is a concoction I came up with last week, and I must say it is deeeeelish. I used skin-on, bone in dark meat chicken thighs for extra flavor. I sauteed the thighs in olive oil for a few minutes, which produced a little schmaltz at the bottom of the pan. Instead of draining the fat, I used it to saute the onion, carrots and garlic to give the stew some extra savory flavor. When I added the chicken back to the stew, I left it on the bone with skin. As the stew simmered, it was infused with even more chicken flavor. I added smoked paprika to give it a slightly smoky vibe. You can use regular paprika as a sub, if you’re having trouble finding the smoked variety. The roasted bell pepper adds a touch of sweetness to the mix. At the end of cooking I deboned the chicken and shredded it, then added it back to the stew. A final simmer reduced the sauce, thickening the stew and enhancing the flavor of the spices.
The result? Chicken Chickpea Stew! It’s kind of similar to a savory chicken tagine, with a unique mouth-watering spice combo that I really enjoyed. The secret is the schmaltz… that little bit of chicken fat produced when you first saute the chicken produces a ton of flavor. Some people don’t use schmaltz and will be tempted to drain it off to lower the fat content of the dish. Please don’t fear the schmaltz! It’s not so bad for you. In fact, some might argue it’s actually good for you. A few of my readers have mentioned that they’re actually trying to incorporate MORE schmaltz into their diet for health reasons! How do you feel about schmaltz?
This easy, healthy one pot meal will definitely become a part of our regular dinner rotation. Serve it over cooked quinoa, couscous or brown rice for a hearty winter meal. To learn how to roast a bell pepper, click here.
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- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cup chicken broth (low sodium okay), or more if needed
- 14 oz diced tomatoes (or 1 3/4 cups ripe diced tomatoes) (1 can)
- 14 oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas) (1 can)
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, skinned and sliced - learn to roast a bell pepper here
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- Pinch cayenne (or more to taste)
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro (or substitute flat leaf parsley), divided
- Salt and pepper
- Sprinkle chicken thighs lightly with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan with high walls over medium heat till hot. Place the chicken thighs into the hot oil, skin side down, and turn heat to medium high. Brown the thighs for about 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through, till thighs are browned on both sides and skin is golden and crisp. Remove the thighs from pan. Do not drain the fat or juices from the pan.
- Add the minced onion to the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes till softened.
- Add the carrots and cook them for 5 more minutes till the onion starts to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more till fragrant, stirring and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the mixture cooks.
- Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, chickpeas, roasted bell pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and 3 tbsp of the chopped cilantro or parsley. Careful with the cayenne when adding to taste, it’s extremely spicy. I liked to add ¼ tsp of cayenne, which gives the stew a nice spicy kick.
- Stir the mixture and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste (I usually add about ½ tsp of salt or less depending on how salty my chicken broth is). Reduce heat to a simmer. Put chicken thighs back in the sauté pan and ladle sauce over them. Cover the pot, vented on one side, and let the stew simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Uncover the pot. Continue to simmer for 15 more minutes till the liquid reduces and the sauce starts to thicken.
- Remove cooked chicken thighs from the sauce. Remove the skin and discard. Cut meat from the bones in small shreds. Discard bones and any excess fat.
- Return the chicken shreds to the sauté pan and stir to combine. Simmer till heated through, or until the sauce is thickened to desired consistency. If the stew seems too dry, add a little chicken broth to rehydrate.
- Remove from heat and sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp chopped cilantro. Serve Chicken Chickpea Stew over cooked quinoa, couscous or brown rice.
Other Great Recipe Ideas
Simply Recipes: Turkey Stew with Root Vegetables
Leite’s Culinaria: Root Vegetable Stew with Cumin, Coriander and Millet
Kalyn’s Kitchen: Vegetarian Mushroom Stew with Red Bell Pepper, Onion and Paprika
Vanilla Garlic: Moroccan-ish Chicken Stew with Dates and Olives
Cookin’ Canuck: Crockpot Chickpea Stew with Balsamic Caramelized Onions