On Tuesday morning our street was covered with sleet when we woke up. It was damp and cold and the kind of day that makes you not want to leave the house unless you have to. We looked out one of the front windows and quickly realized that it would be difficult to get down our driveway without skidding off into the rock wall that boarded it on one side. We weren’t going anywhere- at least for a couple of hours. Sous chef boy was a happy camper and quickly tried to calculate how many classes he would miss before he’d finally be able to leave for school. I decided it was a good day for writing and not shopping for dinner- in a store.
My pantry beckoned and I answered.
And that is how we ended up having my newest savory pantry concoction – Moroccan Chicken and Chickpea Stew – for dinner. I scrounged around and grabbed the incredible new jars of Vietnamese Saigon Cassia Cinnamon and Organic Chinese Ginger from the Savory Spice Shop. They had been part of a Christmas gift box given to me by my friend Susan. The cinnamon has the most amazing aroma and I couldn’t wait to try it in an entrée. Fragrant Moroccan tangines came to mind, but I didn’t want to have to spend a lot of time cooking. It would have to be easy- and not have too many ingredients because I was only going to use what I had in the house.
This is where those boneless, skinless chicken breasts I had bought and froze (because they were such a good deal) would come in handy. I would have preferred fresh chicken with skin and bones, and perhaps even thighs, for this dish. But I would have to make do. Technique – perfect timing and low temperatures – would have to play a big part in the recipe.
A can of chickpeas, a container of organic chicken broth, an onion, the few carrots I had left in the frig (there were no other appropriate fresh vegetables to throw in), some cloves of garlic and golden raisins. More spices from my cabinet. I’d make a salad to start. Done.
My husband and I happily ate my Moroccan Chicken and Chickpea Stew for dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday. And there is still one small portion left for lunch today (we are flipping a coin to see who gets it). Sous chef boy had opted out. He kept circling around the pot because it smelled so good while it cooked. But then he’d lift the cover and see the chickpeas and the raisins and shake his head in what I took for sorrow. No matter- more for me.
Moroccan Chicken and Chickpea Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of cayenne
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (approx. 1- 15.5 oz. can)
1 cup carrot, diced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into large 2-inch pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a heavy large saucepan (5-6 quart) over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 8 – 10 minutes until onion is soft. Add coriander, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne; stir until well combined and cook for 1 minute.
- Add broth and carrots; simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add chickpeas and raisins; cover and simmer for another 15 minutes. Nestle chicken pieces into pot and bring to a simmer over a very low heat. Gently simmer the chicken, uncovered, at the lowest possible heat until cooked through (do not boil), about 15 minutes for breast meat and 20 minutes for thigh meat.
- Season with salt, pepper. Serve in bowls.
Stew can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator for up to three days a tightly sealed container. Leftovers can be stored in refrigerator for up to three days. Rewarm over medium-high heat.