I am not a huge fan of winter. I tolerate winter. I don't ski or snowboard or go sledding and the days of snow men and snowball fights and whatever allure they once had are long gone. I mostly just, um, stay inside. But there are a few things I love about winter. One of them is the foods you get to enjoy and feel entitled to eat. Some of my favorite foods are clearly winter foods -- stews, soups, rich pasta sauces -- foods I would never want to eat if I lived somewhere where it was always warm. And that would be sad.
This Lebonese-inspired chickpea stew with chicken thighs is one of these foods. It is hearty and warm and wonderful. It is from Bon Appetit, February 2012. I changed the original recipe by adding more chicken -- 4 thighs instead of 2 -- and by subbing chicken stock for the water. The cubes of country style bread I toasted after tossing in a little olive oil, salt and pepper to make them crusty before adding them at the end. Here is the recipe.
adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2012
4 T olive oil, divided
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. ground cumin
2 Tbs. tomato paste
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers from a jar
2 Tbs. (or more) fresh lemon juice
2 cups 1" cubes country-style bread
3 Tbs. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat 2 Tbs. oil in medium heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt; add to pot and cook, turning once, until browned, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
2. Reduce heat to low and let oil cool for 1 minute; 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.
3. Add reserved chicken, along with any accumulated juices, bay leaves and cups water (or chicken stock). Scrape up any browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, occasionally stirring, until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add chickpeas to pot; bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, shred chicken. Add shredded chicken to stew. Add red peppers. Stir in remaining 2 Tbs. oil and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice; simmer for 1 minute.
5. Season with salt and more lemon juice, if desired.
6. Divide stew among bowls, garnish with parsley. Top with toasted bread cubes (or put bread cubes in bowl and top with stew).