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With the weather turning colder (snow in the forecast for later this week?!?!?! ¬†NOOOOOO!!!!!!!) ūüėČ I had a request from a friend of mine to blog about a stew recipe. ¬†At first, I was dreading the research necessary to find a new recipe…and then I remembered! ¬†I have a¬†fantastic stew recipe that’s extremely hearty, very tasty, and easy to make. ¬†I just made this a couple of weeks ago for a customer who has three omnivores in the house, as well as an 11 year old vegetarian. ¬†This stew works for both…I chose to cook the chicken thighs under the broiler, and only added them to 4 out of the 6 portions that I made for them. ¬†Word so far is that the little vegetarian is a big fan…so winner here, heh heh.

I really enjoyed making this recipe, because it has ingredients that I wouldn’t always use on a day to day basis. ¬†The only place that I’ve used coriander in the past was in the green curry recipe that I blogged about previously. ¬†As a general rule, butternut squash is one of the vegetables that is just easier to buy frozen…but because Sprouts was out, I had to buy fresh and work with it myself. ¬†I am SUPER lazy, so any time I am forced to get out of my comfort zone like that, I appreciate it. ¬†I have used turnips in the past for my beef stew recipe, so this is an unusual vegetable that I’m a big fan of. ¬†Finally, I don’t use couscous very often at all, so I got the opportunity to learn about this little grain as well ūüôā

When I made this recipe for my customer, I learned a LOT about the ingredients I was working with…always something I appreciate. ¬†First of all, fresh butternut squash isn’t as sturdy as I originally thought. ¬†The recipe calls for it to be cooked for 30 minutes…I think I would change the cooking time for all of the ingredients¬†through the chickpeas to 25 minutes instead of 30. ¬†This will allow more liquid to be available at the end, as well as leave the vegetables with more texture. ¬†(Side note here) The recipe calls for the stew to be covered and simmered. ¬†With the altitude here in denver, liquid starts to boil at a lower temperature than in other parts of the country. ¬†Here in the city, I left the stew uncovered while it simmered, because I didn’t want it to boil under the extra air pressure of the lid…but that’s just me. ūüėČ

Last, I want to talk about the couscous. ¬†At first glance, it seems like couscous can be cooked like rice, bulgur, or any of the other grains that are simmered. ¬†However, what I have learned is that it’s more gentle, and can’t withstand the heat that rice or bulgur can. ¬†This recipe addresses that fact very well, and I was extremely happy with how the couscous ended up. ¬†It adds a fantastic texture to the stew, as well as bringing a completely different flavor than you would expect.

All in all, if you want a delicious, hearty, easy to make stew for the upcoming chill in the air, I recommend this to you…for both your omnivore and vegetarian friends. ¬†Until next time, Chef Curry out. ¬†Recipe Below.

Chickpea and Winter Vegetable Stew

Ingredients

2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, on the side
1/2 C chopped onion
1 leek cut into  thin slices
1/4  tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cumin
2 minced garlic cloves
1 quart vegetable stock
1.5 C cubed and peeled butternut squash
1 C large cubed peeled Yukon gold potato
1 tsp tomato paste
As needed: salt
1 large turnip, peeled and diced
1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1/4 bunch parsley, minced
1/4 tsp honey
1 C uncooked couscous
2 lb chicken thighs, broiled and split upProcedure

Procedure

  • Preheat broiler, and cook chicken thighs until internal temperature reaches 160F. Let rest and set aside for later
  • Heat oil in a large saucepot over medium-high heat. Add onion and leek and saut√© for 5 minutes.¬† Add coriander, cumin, and garlic clove, cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add the quart of stock plus all the ingredients through the chickpeas to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.¬† Stir in parsley and honey
  • Remove 2 C of cooking liquid. Place into a bowl with the couscous, cover and let stand 5 minutes.¬† Fluff with a fork
  • Divide couscous evenly among bowls (should be ¬Ĺ C couscous per bowl) and distribute stew mixture evenly among same bowls and store/serve

Recipe and images courtesy of the New York Times:
http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015219-chickpea-and-winter-vegetable-stew