Chickpeas, kale and red peppers work beautifully with chicken to create this delicious Bay Leaf Braised Chicken with Chickpeas.
I’ve been eating chickpeas forever, as they are a part of many West Indian dishes and my parents are both from Trinidad. I’ve always known them as chickpeas or channa, but many people call them garbanzo beans, which I think might be the official name. It doesn’t really matter what you call them. What matter is that they are delicious. They are high in fiber, low in calories, and easily absorb the flavors that you’re cooking with. They sell them canned, but the liquid they can them with looks kind of gross. You can also buy them dry. That is much cheaper, particularly in stores that have bulk food sections. When bought dry, you soak them overnight, and then cook them.
For the longest time, I only cooked chickpeas as a side to curry chicken. But a few years ago, when I began searching online for new recipes, I came across Bay Leaf Braised Chicken with Chick Peas. It quickly became one of my favorites, even though I don’t make it nearly enough. I originally always made it with a side of risotto, but it was such a heavy meal. Now I make it on its own.
Bay Leaf Braised Chicken with Chickpeas is so good! I never realized how much bay leaves flavor a dish until I made this one. The bay leaves are essentially the base of the dish, and warming them along with the oil releases so much flavor. One time I didn’t have any bay leaves in the house so I made the dish without them, and it made a significant difference. I can’t explain how, but the flavor changed. Now I always have bay leaves.
The recipe calls for roasted red peppers, so of course I used to buy the jar at the grocery store. Then I saw on The Food Network how easy it was to roast them on the stove. I tried it myself, and never bought the jar again. I save money, and I roast the peppers as needed. Most importantly, who knows what they’re adding to the peppers to keep them “fresh” in the jar.
I have always been a dark meat girl, and in this dish the chicken gets so tender that it easily pulls off the bone. I don’t believe that chicken breast would work, because it gets dry so quickly. I originally used canned broth, but once I learned to make my own vegetable broth I use that exclusively.
As I mentioned earlier, I almost always use dry chickpeas. After they soak, I cook them in the pressure cooker for 12-15 minutes. When cooked properly, they have a little bite on the outside, but nice and creamy inside. Under-cook them, and there is no creaminess at all and they even taste kind of mealy. Overcook them, and they are mushy and falling apart. I’m not ashamed to admit I have made both mistakes several times.
Yes, I will definitely continue to make Bay Leaf Braised Chicken with Chickpeas. As I’ve said previously, it’s one of my favorites. And it’s super easy to make. I think it would work well as a dinner party dish too.
Adapted from Food & Wine
Bay Leaf Braised Chicken with Chickpeas
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 chicken thighs, bone-in, skinless
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (1 raw, 1 roasted)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chickpeas, dry or canned
- 2 cups kale, ribs removed, rinsed, chopped
- 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 red pepper
- Flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
- DRY CHICKPEAS: soak overnight in water. When ready to prepare, add chickpeas and water to pressure cooker, and cook over medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes. Chickpeas should still have some resistance to the bite.
- CANNED CHICKPEAS: rinse thoroughly
- Turn heat to medium-low and place red pepper directly on flame. Turn occasionally, and roast until lightly charred. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cut into thin strips
- Add olive oil and bay leaves to medium skillet and heat to almost smoking
- Season chicken with salt & pepper, and add to skillet
- Cook until well-browned, about 7-10 minutes
- Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Leave bay leaves in skillet
- Add onions, and saute for 3-4 minutes, until soft
- Add garlic, and cook for 2 minutes
- Add white wine and cook for 2-3 minutes
- Return chicken to skillet. Add chickpeas, kale and broth
- Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through
- Remove bay leaves
- Add red peppers, and cook for an additional 2 minutes
- Portion into bowls, and garnish with parsley