My husband surprised me this week with a delicious dinner. Even better, it was a meal that I’d been craving for a few days: Braised chicken with Chickpeas and Tomatoes. Sometimes, that’s just how in sync we are. Truthfully, my husband is a really quick study and this is one of our family favorites that he watched me making once or twice and can now duplicate.
I think the reason we make this dish so often, besides the fact that it’s really tasty, is that it seems like you’ve slaved hours over it when in fact it is ready quickly enough for it to be a weeknight dinner (Sort of. Without a bit of planning ahead, it will take about an hour). You can make it ahead since it reheats perfectly and it freezes well, too.
If you want to give it a try, keep in mind that there’s a lot of flexibility with this recipe. You can try it the way that we like it best, as I’ve described below, but you can also really make it your own. If you wanted to say, add olives one night, or swap out the herbs for some chili powder go for it! In fact, if you have a fresh idea of a variation on this recipe, share it with us in the comments.
Sadly, I was too busy eating this yummy dinner to get better photos of it. I hope that the one snapshot I’ve shown here is enticing enough to convince you to give it a try.
Braised Chicken with Garbanzos, Tomatoes and Herbs
1 8oz can of garbanzo beans, (or roughly 1/2 a cup of dried beans, soaked overnight)
3-4 pounds of chicken parts (thighs, legs, breasts, or two small whole chickens, cut into parts)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
1 24 oz can tomatoes
1 cup red wine (optional)
If you’re using dried beans, soak them overnight and set aside. If you’re using canned, drain and set aside. Liberally season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
In a dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pot or enameled cast iron casserole, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the chicken pieces on both sides until golden, only adding as many of the pieces in the pan at one time that can fit without crowding. I usually saute them in two batches. This will probably take about 3 or so minutes per side. If you’ve used enough oil, the chicken pieces should not stick. Try to resist the urge to move them around while cooking as this will reduce the browning. Transfer the batches of chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent and slightly softened, scraping up the brown bits as you go. Add the herbs, the tomatoes, the wine, the reserved garbanzo beans, the reserved chicken pieces and any accumulated juices to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced, then cover and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender (about 30 minutes total). Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with pasta, potatoes, spaghetti squash, or couscous.
Here are some alternatives you might consider:
Option #1: When we were at university still, we made the chicken like this (without the beans) with a much heavier sprinkling of fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. We called is “Scarborough Fair Chicken”.
Option #2: If you saute the chicken and vegetables the night before, you can then add the chicken to the pot and hold these items in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, add the herbs, the garlic, the wine, the tomatoes, and the chickpeas. Put the pot in the oven on a timer and have it set to bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes before you want to eat. When you’re home, you can uncover the pot for the last 15 minutes of cooking and keep an eye on the chicken for done-ness. If it’s ready before you are, don’t worry. Take it out of the oven and let it rest. It will stay nice and warm in the pot.
Option #3: Make the whole dish the night before and just reheat on the stove top or in the oven if you need dinner on the table in under 20 minutes.
Option #4: If you’re really in a hurry, just skip it and order pizza. (just kidding! But seriously, that’s what I’d do if it was one of those nights)