For many, cooking can be a daunting process. I am, by nature a very curious person. Cooking allows me to travel and explore other cultures. This has taught me that I can spice up the foods that I cook every week. This keeps me from falling into a rut and enables me to be flexible with flavors and cuisines. This brings me to our first recipe. You won’t get every detail of why this, that and the other thing is good or not good for you. You won’t get the “eat this superfood and you can increase your performance in the gym”, and so on. Instead we want this recipe to be the first of many that helps those of you who cook at home, or want to try to cook more often a healthy and delicious meal.
In this recipe I invite you to travel with me through the flavors of Spain. I promise it will be a short trip, yet a memorable one. I will keep it as simple as possible, but I won’t skip on the things that I feel really make the difference in flavor and perception.
This is by no means a traditional dish, it is just a healthier take on a stew that has amazing aroma and flavor.
- 2 pounds deboned and cleaned chicken thighs
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 ½ tsp. Spanish smoked sweet paprika
- A pinch of saffron (this can be ommited)
- ½ of a red pepper, cut into ¼ inch squares
- 2 carrots, cleaned and cut into chunks
- ½ leek cut into 4 pieces
- 1 garlic clove smashed
- 1 medium onion cubed
- 4 baby yellow Dutch potatoes cut in half
- 8 spanish olives
- 1 tsp. capers
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups of water
- 1 lemon
Clean and season the chicken with all the dry spices (ingredients 2-7) for at least an hour.
While you are letting the chicken sit and absorb all the amazing flavor start prepping the rest of your vegetables.
Place all the ingredients in a dutch oven or a large pot. Bring everything to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces. Turn the heat to high and reduce the liquid by half. Meanwhile shred the chicken to medium-large chunks.
Once the liquid is reduced and has thickened, add the chicken back in and remove from the heat. Stir in 2 tsps. of lemon juice and let the stew sit for 5 minutes. Taste for salt and citrus.
Serve with rice or eat on it’s own.
Swap out the chicken for tofu! Drained the tofu, season with half the spices, and saute until golden brown. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and simmer the tofu in the pot for only 15 minutes before removing. Stew the vegetables for another 15 minutes to complete the 30 minute process, then reduce the liquid to half.
Optional tips to improve this recipe!
1) Have a glass of wine! I made this on Saturday, and since it fell on my 2 days of more leisure eating (I follow our 5/2 rule!), well, I had to add the right wine. So we opened one of Mama Julia’s’ Mansion Creek Cellars best, her 2013 cuvee, which is a blend of Spanish varietals. Full disclosure, I love all her wines!
2) If you're entertaining, add ¼ of smoked chorizo to the pot, it will deepen the flavor and add some kick. Serve it in small ramekins in the middle of the table. Enjoy some bread with Manchego cheese and olive oil.
3) And the best way to improve this recipe, is to have it with the right person or the right group of people. Whether it be your partner, a group of friends, or your whole family. One simple dish, with 4 or 5 other items as side dishes, a nice bottle of wine, and now all is left to do is to get the conversation going.