This stew was hearty and filling, and gave me the opportunity to use up quite a few items...tomato paste, bacon, zucchini, soft tomatoes, half a red onion from the fridge and chicken stock and half a can of chickpeas from the freezer.
I used paprika and turmeric, which gave the stew hints of both goulash and something exotic that you would find in Moroccan or Indian dishes. As I only had six boneless, skinless chicken thighs, the addition of chickpeas made the dish more filling, and it went a lot further.
If you wish to turn this into a vegetarian dish, increasing the chickpeas (or adding other beans or lentils) and eliminating both the chicken and chicken stock is an easy way to do so.
Cut the boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 2 or 3 smaller pieces. I used 6 thighs in total.
Rub the chicken with:
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Dice and cook until crispy:
4 rashers of bacon
Remove from the pan, and place on paper towel to remove any excess fat.
Drain the remaining fat from the pan.
In the same pan, using olive oil, sear the chicken pieces.
Remove the chicken when both sides are browned, and set aside until needed again.
Over medium heat, using more olive oil if needed, cook the vegetables until starting to soften and colour slightly:
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
Cook for a couple of minutes.
2 tomatoes, diced
Add the seared chicken and cooked bacon back to the pan.
3 tablespoons flour
Cook for two minutes, stirring to incorporate the flour.
Add the liquid:
3 cups chicken stock
Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Cook until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.
Uncover, and add:
1 cup chickpeas
Taste and adjust seasoning. Continue to cook for another 10 - 15 minutes, adjusting the thickness by adding more chicken stock or water if needed.
I served the stew with hot biscuits, which were used to soak up the tasty sauce. It can also be served with bread, dumplings or over rice.
- As I mentioned, this can easily be turned into a vegetarian dish by eliminating the chicken, increasing the amount of chickpeas, or by adding other beans and/or lentils. Use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken stock.
- The bacon is optional; I had some to use. It does add a smokiness, but also adds salt, so go easy on the salt until you adjust the seasoning just before serving. Prosciutto or pancetta can be used if you have either one on hand.
- Bone in chicken thighs can be used, but I would stay with skinless if possible. The skin tends to go soggy when stewed. Other meats that can be used are beef, pork or lamb stewing cuts.
- Canned tomatoes can be substituted for fresh.
- Other vegetables such as carrots, turnips, celery can be used. I chose to stay away from root vegetables and use the quicker cooking peppers, onion and zucchini.
- Use the beans you have available...black, cannellini, romano, kidney.
- When the stew is ready, you can add dumplings to the pot to steam.
- Add more liquid and turn it into a hearty soup.
- Leftovers can be frozen for another meal; better yet, make extra and be sure to have enough to freeze.