Monday, March 2, 2009

Spiced Chicken and Chickpea Stew

I was leafing through a past issue of Cooking Light and a recipe caught my eye. After I made a note to copy it from the website, I took another look at the recipe beside it. “Sweet and Spicy Chicken and White Bean Stew” was a reader submission and, a few months ago when this issue came out, the name did not appeal to me so I passed it by. However, as I read the ingredients more closely now, I was intrigued. Featuring a definitely Indian list of spices, so I decided to give it a go. With several modifications, of course. And why do I cook if not for an excuse to do my own thing????

The directions called for not draining the white beans but I did because, well, that thick, whitish liquid was kinda gross. :) I added an equivalent amount of low-sodium chicken broth to make up for that. Also, I had no fire-roasted tomatoes, as specified in the original recipe, so I added some ground chipotle pepper for a smoky flavor (and more heat).

A cup of light coconut milk was called for. I don’t like to use all coconut milk, even light, in recipes and prefer to sub half skim milk and add a little coconut extract at the end of the cooking time. This, I have found, gives a more coconut-y flavor with much less fat.

When I tasted the stew near the end of the cooking time, I felt that it lacked something. I doubled the spices then added cumin, and this helped a lot. Some frozen cut green beans for color and an extra serving of vegetables, and it was done.

This stew was fantastic! The coconut milk added a smoothness (and a wonderful coconut flavor) to the tomato-based broth, with the mixture of spices dancing around, none overpowering each other at all. The lemongrass is listed as an option, but do try to add it. I bought several stalks while at the Strip a few weeks ago and froze them-- texture or flavor was not compromised. I am writing this a week after I made the stew and I've already put it back on my lunch rotation for this week (I do not often repeat recipes, especially this soon, unless they are worthy).

This next time I will use chickpeas instead of the white beans (which will bump up the fiber content by almost 300%), and perhaps leave out the chicken altogether because it will make a great vegetarian stew (subbing veggie broth for the chicken, of course). It was very, very flavorful, and a piece of Trader Joe’s naan was the perfect side.

The recipe contains a long list of ingredients, but prep them first and putting it together will be a snap. And we found that the leftovers taste even better.

Because of the many changes I made, I am now renaming this and calling it my own creation. But I do appreciate the author’s idea, and also her use of cardamom, a spice which I have in several forms but never seem to use much.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Spiced Chicken and Chickpea Stew

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings: 4

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

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2 teaspoons canola oil

3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3 large garlic cloves -- minced

7 ounces finely chopped onion

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

9 ounces chickpeas -- cooked (or use a 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)

12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast -- diced into 1/2" pieces

3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass -- optional

14 1/2 ounces canned diced tomato -- undrained

8 ounces white potato -- diced 1/2"

2 cups frozen green beans -- (or fresh, cut into 1/2" lengths)

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a nonstick Dutch oven, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the cardamom, cloves, and garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the onion, turn the heat down a little, and sauté for 6 minutes or until onions are just tender.

Add the chili powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and chipotle pepper and stir for 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas and chicken, stir to mix; then add the next 7 ingredients (chicken broth through canned tomato). Mix well and add the potato. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to simmer, cover, and cook until potato is almost done (about 20 minutes).

Add the green beans and cook for 5 minutes (8 minutes for fresh green beans). Stir in coconut extract and ladle into serving bowls. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.


"8 cups"

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Per serving: 499 Calories (kcal); 9g Total Fat (2g Saturated); (16% calories from fat); 40g Protein; 68g Carbohydrate; 50mg Cholesterol; 623mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 3 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates