Chicken and Chickpea Stew

Chicken & Chickpea Stew Photo by Cynthia Nelson

The addition of peas and beans to stews long ago was a way of stretching the meat. And what a delicious addition they were; the favourite being black-eye peas. Creamy, with a satisfying mouthfeel, and infused with the flavour of the meat or chicken with which they were cooked, the peas in the stew became an equal partner in the pot.

Other legumes such as kidney beans and chickpeas also make perfect additions to stews and curries because they can stand up to the long cooking. For this recipe, I used chickpeas, but you can use black-eye peas, kidney, red, black, lima or various heirloom beans. I prefer to use dried beans that need an overnight rehydration but if you prefer canned, then by all means use that.

INGREDIENTS

  •  2 – 3 pounds chicken wings, jointed(thighs and drumsticks would work too)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • ½ cup finely chopped stalk celery (see notes below)
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • Minced hot pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 3 – 4 cups boiling water (see notes below)
  • 2 cups cooked rehydrated chick peas (reserve cooking liquid) Sliced scallions to finish (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Add oil to a deep frying pan or Dutch oven and place over medium high heat until smoking hot. Brown the chicken in batches and set aside (the chicken will not be cooked through, in this process you only want to develop colour on the chicken which will add flavour to the stew).
  3. Add the onions, celery, carrots, thyme, pepper and garlic along with a pinch of salt; stir and toss well to mix, scraping the bottom of the pan/pot for any stuck-on bits. Reduce heat to low and cook until the vegetables are softened and fragrant.
  4. Raise heat to high and add chicken and any liquid from while it was resting. Stir to mix with the aromatics.
  5. Pour in tomato sauce and water, stir well, cover partially and bring to a roaring boil. When a third of the liquid has reduced, add peas and continue cooking on high until liquid has reduced by half. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid has reduced to your desired consistency. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to suit your taste Let cook for 2 minutes after adjusting seasoning.
  6. Let the stew sit for 10 minutes covered before finishing with scallions and serving.

NOTES

  • In addition to simply salt and pepper, if you like, you can season the chicken with green seasoning too.
  • Use 2 tablespoons finely minced Chinese (Guyanese) celery if you do not have stalk celery.
  • Instead of using plain water, reserve the cooking liquid from the peas and use that for added flavour to the stew. Vegetable or chicken stock can be used too.
  • If using canned peas, drain well before adding to the pot; no need to rinse.

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