Chicken,  Cooking for a Crowd,  Dinner,  Recipes,  Soup

Chicken & Lemon Stew

At this time of year there’s still some uncertainty in the weather, lots of warm days hint of Spring, but the nights can be chilly and some days you need warm socks and a jacket. This stew is the last one I make each year, it’s fresh and light, and chock full of vibrant flavors – cumin, turmeric, dried red chiles, olives and lots of lemon. While this stew is great for a family dinner, it’s also special enough to serve for a cozy dinner with friends. Don’t be scared away from the long recipe – it’s very simple actually. I also included some technique notes that hopefully will add to your cooking knowledge.

My picture shows the stew with the optional olives and baby spinach. To make this dish more kid-friendly skip those two ingredients (they are optional anyway) and omit the chiles. I was in an indulgent mood and made this stew just for me.

Try my recipe for poached chicken breasts. I guarantee tender, juicy and flavorful chicken – the ideal starting point for literally hundreds of recipes.

Poached Chicken

Chicken, Lemon & Olive Stew
Author: Kate Wagner
Serves: 10 – 12
You will notice the recipe calls for 1-3 chile de Arbol (check the notes for more on them), they do make this stew a bit spicy. If you aren’t sure you want it spicy make it the first time with 1 or 2 chiles. If you want to make this stew super family-friendly you could even omit the chiles entirely and only add the olives in the adult servings (I know my kids wouldn’t touch olives). Your stew will still be totally delicious! Happy cooking!
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 Onions, yellow, large, minced
  • 12 tsp Minced garlic
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp Turmeric, ground
  • 1 tbsp Cumin, ground
  • 1 tbsp Coriander, ground
  • 1-3 Chile de Arbol, stemmed, seeded and minced (see note)
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 2 Bay leaves, dried
  • 3 (15.5 oz) cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained, with 1 can pureed (see note)
  • 6 cups plus 1/2 cup Chicken broth, low-sodium or homemade
  • 3 Lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4-5 lbs. Chicken, cooked and shredded (I use skinless, boneless breasts)
  • 2 cups Green olives, small, pitted (optional)
  • 1 (6 oz) bag Baby Spinach, with stems removed (optional)
  1. In a Dutch oven over medium low heat add the oilve oil. Once the oil has warmed add the onions. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly browned, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, Kosher salt, turmeric, cumin, and coriander and continue to cook for 5 minutes more.
  3. In the meantime, puree 1 can of the chickpeas with 1/2 cup of chicken broth. (If you don’t have a food processor you can simply mash them with a potato masher)
  4. Add chile(s), cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, all of the chickpeas (pureed and regular), chicken broth, the zest and juice of 2 lemons and the chicken. Stir well, adjust heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour.
  5. Remove Dutch oven from heat. Add last lemon (zest and juice) as well as olives and baby spinach if using. Stir well. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 days. You can also freeze for up to 1 month.
[b]Why do I add spices so early in a recipe? [/b]Many years ago I discovered the Indian technique of “blooming” spices. All that means is you add your spices and seasonings to hot oil and allow them to cook for a few minutes. You achieve two things – one, the hot oil helps release the flavors and two, your dish has so many more layers of flavor. Give it a try![br][b]Chile de Arbol [/b]- one of my favorite aspects of cooking is that you never stop learning, there is ALWAYS a new ingredient, technique, recipe to experiment with. I came late to dried chiles – I did not start cooking with them until this winter and I was instantly hooked. They add such an interesting complexity to dishes. Yes, they are a bit expensive (a container of these costs around $5, but they last forever). Depending on your heat tolerance start with small, maybe just use 1 chile and see how you enjoy the heat.[br][b]Chickpeas[/b] – They can be a wonderful way to add thickness and body to a soup or stew, so in this recipe I take 1 can and puree it in the food processor with 1/2 cup of chicken broth. It’s a great technique to use in a variety of dishes.


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