The slow cooker I received as a Christmas gift from my hubby has inspired me to look for new and great tasting recipes that utilize this handy appliance. Many of the recipes that interest me start with chicken thighs. They are an inexpensive cut of meat, full of flavor and hold up well to slow cooking. This easy to assemble chicken stew gets great flavor from smoked paprika, oregano and just a dash of saffron. The original recipe from The Great American Slow Cooker Book called for bone in skinless chicken thighs that went directly in the slow cooker. I like to brown the meat first, it only takes a few minutes and I think adds a real depth of flavor. Also, I leave the skin on, I think it protects the meat, whether you choose to eat it or not.
The recipe is so simple. Drained diced tomatoes, chickpeas, onion, parsley and spices are stirred together in the slow cooker. A paste of garlic, oregano, salt and olive oil is rubbed on the thighs, whether you have browned them first or decide to go the skinless route. Place the thighs in the cooker. Set your timer for 4 hours on high or low for 7 hours. I put the thighs under the broiler for a crispy skin. Serve with toasted Israeli couscous with pine nuts and apricots for a delicious satisfying supper. Definitely a recipe I will make again.
Chicken Stew with Chickpeas and Tomatoes
- 1¼ c drained canned diced tomatoes
- 1¼ c drained and rinsed chickpeas
- 3/4c chopped onion
- ¼c minced parsley leaves
- 1 t smoked paprika
- ½ t ground cloves
- ½ t ground cumin
- ¼ t ground cinnamon
- ¼ t saffron threads
- ¼ t freshly ground black pepper
- 2 t dried oregano
- 2 T olive oil, one for the pan and one for the paste
- 2 t minced garlic
- 1 t salt
- 3 lb bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- Stir the tomatoes, chickpeas, onion, parsley, paprika, cloves, cinnamon, saffron and pepper in a 4 to 5½ quart slow cooker.
- Warm a large skillet set over medium high heat and swirl in the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs skin side down, as many as will fit in the pan without crowding. Brown on one side, about 4-6 minutes, turn over and brown another 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and continue browning in batches. Alternately, remove the skin and place thighs directly in the slow cooker.
- Mix the oregano, olive oil, garlic and salt into a paste and rub a little on each chicken thigh. Set them into the cooker until they are submerged about halfway.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7 hours.
- If desired, remove the thighs from the cooker and broil for about 2 minutes to crisp up the skin.