Chicken, Chorizo, Chickpea & Tomato Stew with Polenta

I just made this for dinner last night and it was so unbelievably delicious that I had to post it! It's a recipe from Serious Eats. If you don't know that website, you should check it out. They have great, detailed, well-thought-out recipes. I made some changes, but if you're curious to see the original for comparison, google: "30 pressure cooker chicken with chickpeas, tomatoes, and chorizo recipe" (and i thought my title was long!! ;-)

One other thing to note: The original recipe was made in a pressure cooker. I'm not sure how many people own one of those. Though I think the "instapot" may have made them more popular. I went all old school and bought your basic workhorse of a pressure cooker and I have to say that it scares and alludes me every time I break it out, but by some miracle, it does what it's supposed to do. If you don't have a pressure cooker, I'm sure this would come out just as well in a crockpot. I'll have to try it one of these days, or if you do, please email me at bigredhouse2.0@gmail.com to let me know how it turned out.

Ingredients:

  • A drop of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces Spanish-style chorizo cut into 1/2-inch dice or my daughter suggested using fresh chorizo or hot Italian sausage out of the casing (Yes, I have a daughter old enough to make recipe suggestions to me. Don't judge, you might one day have a daughter old enough to do such things too.) me 
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes broken up a bit (I use whatever brand my supermarket has that does not contain citric acid because I'm crazy and also because citric acid, unbeknownst to many, is actually manufactured from corn mold -not a squeeze of lemon juice like they'd like you to believe)
  • 1 small Parmesan rind (optional - this is just the rind from a chunk of Parmesan cheese. I add it to soups and stews during the cooking for a bit of extra flavor).
  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into 8 serving pieces, or a mix of bone-in, skin-on breasts, drumsticks, and/or thighs - (I used 4 legs, 4 thighs and 3 breasts cut in ½. All pieces were bone in but I pulled the skin off of all.)
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth. I used water and thought it tasted fabulous and flavorful.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper - I used about 1.5 teaspoons of salt, but my chickpeas were unsalted because that was all they had at my supermarket.
  • 8 oz fresh baby spinach

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Add chorizo and cook, stirring, for about 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Add garlic and cook for another minute or 2.
  6. Add paprika, chickpeas, tomatoes.
  7. Add in Parmesan rind (if using), chicken pieces, and water or broth and bring to a boil. 
  8. Cover with lid and once the pressure valve pops up, lower heat to medium-low. 
  9. Cook for about 25 minutes, turn off heat, and carefully open pressure valve. 
  10. Once the pressure has been released, remove the cover, turn heat back on and add the spinach. Simmer until it reaches the consistency you desire. I like mine a bit soupy so I just let the spinach wilt and then turn it off. If you like it thicker, you can let it simmer for a while until it thickens. 
  11. Taste and add salt and pepper if think it needs it.
  12. I served this in bowls with some polenta at the bottom and the stew on top of it. 

If using a crockpot, in a medium-sized pan, follow steps 1-6. Pour ingredients into the crockpot, add in Parmesan rind, chicken pieces and water. Cover and set to high for 4 hours. After 4 hours, add in spinach. The liquid should be hot enough to  wilt the spinach. Alternatively, you can try just adding all the ingredients to a crockpot and not sautéing the chorizo and veggies. You'll still have all the delicious flavors of the dish and I think it would be fine.   

POLENTA

I made my polenta on the stove top, but I remember making polenta in the oven. It was just as delicious and much easier. Here is a recipe similar to the one I remember. It's from the The New York Times. I will test it out and update as necessary. 

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of water - I use water in my polenta, but you can use any type of stock or milk or a combination of the 3 as long as it adds up to 8 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups polenta corn meal
  • 2 tablespoons butter + extra for greasing an oven proof dish and foil to cover the dish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Butter a shallow 2 1/2 - 3 quart oven-safe dish and set aside.
  3. In a 3 quart (medium sized) pot, bring water/milk/stock to a boil. 
  4. Stir in polenta, add in butter, and let the mixture come back to a boil while stirring. 
  5. Remove from heat and pour into oven-safe dish. Cover dish with buttered foil and place in the oven for 1 hour. 
  6. Bake for 1 hour. Carefully remove foil (it will probably be very hot and steamy under the foil) and serve immediately.