Chicken and Chickpea Stew (with slow cooker and stove options)

This Chicken and Chickpea Stew requires minimum prep and delivers maximum flavour. Easy, delicious and healthy it will become your favourite weeknight meal.

This Chicken and Chickpea Stew requires minimum prep and delivers maximum flavour. Easy, delicious and healthy it will become your favourite weeknight meal | Imagelicious

Contrary to what this blog details, I don't just survive on breakfast and dessert (I wish I did). There's actually a main dish, some kind of entree, on the table most of the nights. But the foods that I make are so easy that I feel they do not deserve a blog post. I cook simple and easy: roast chicken with whatever spices I have on hand placed on sliced onion and lemon and garlic, all of that goodness becoming a delicious sauce; burritos with pan-fried pepper and onions, rice, black beans, cheese and veggies; 5-minute prep lasagna with good, store-bought tomato sauce, no cook noodles and ricotta mixed with spinach. Comfort food, easy food, fast to prepare food. After having a baby I rely more and more on these quick and almost no-prep recipes. 

This Chicken and Chickpea Stew is the kind of recipe anyone can make even with a crying baby, so it's a total mom-recipe. It requires almost no preparation and comes out thick and comforting, filling and delicious. The recipe makes a lot, so it's perfect for a few week nights with some starch. I like it with rice or buckwheat and I am almost positive it would be great as a sauce with pasta. I also added this Chicken and Chickpea Stew to lasagna and it turned out amazing. 

Cooking healthy on weeknights should not be complicated. Check out these 12 Healthy Weeknight Dinners at the end of the post by a group of very talented Canadian Bloggers. I'm sure you'll find something for every taste in this delicious compilation of recipes.

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Now, this Chicken and Chickpea Stew is super easy. All you do is chop some onion and sauté it in a dutch oven, then add boneless and skinless chicken thighs, a can of chickpeas, a can of diced tomatoes, some dried herbs and let it cook. If you are making it on the stove, then bring it to boil, then transfer the pot to the oven and cook for a couple of hours. Shred the chicken with two forks and serve over your favourite starch. Slow cooker version takes longer (obviously) but it's even easier as there's no need to sauté the onions and transfer the pot to the oven. Both versions taste equally delicious.

This Chicken and Chickpea Stew requires minimum prep and delivers maximum flavour. Easy, delicious and healthy it will become your favourite weeknight meal | Imagelicious

Chicken and Chickpea Stew

6-8 servings

Onion, diced - 1
Oil - 1 tablespoon for the stove option only
Chili peppers - 4 (optional)
Chicken thighs, skinless and boneless - about 3 pounds (enough to cover the bottom of the pan, 6-8 thighs depending on the size)
Chickpeas, undrained - 1 can (540 ml)
Diced tomatoes - 1 can (796 ml)
Dry rosemary - 1 teaspoon
Dry thyme - 1 teaspoon
Dry parsley - 1 teaspoon
Mrs. Dash no salt seasoning - 1 teaspoon
Salt, pepper to taste
Chicken stock - 1/2 cup or 1 cup depending on how "soupy" you'd like the stew
  • For the stove option
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Heat oil in a dutch oven.
  • Add diced onion and sauté until softened. Add whole chili peppers if using.
  • Place chicken thighs in the pot. Add a can of chickpeas (no need to drain, add all the liquid) and a can of diced tomatoes.
  • Add dry rosemary, dry, thyme, dry parsley, Mrs. Dash no salt seasoning and salt and pepper if using.
  • Add between 1/2 and 1 cup of chicken stock (I use 1 cup as I like the stew to have lots of juice for the starch).
  • Cover the dutch oven with a lid and bring to boil.
  • Transfer the pot to the oven and cook for 1.5-2 hours. 
  • Once everything is cooked, shred the chicken with two forks right in the pot, mix and serve over your favourite starch like rice, quinoa or buckwheat.
     
  • For the slow cooker option
  • No need to sauté the onion, just place everything in a slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low heat.
  • After 8 hours shred the chicken with two forks right in the slow cooker, mix and cook on high for another 1/2 hour. 

As with most stews, you can add different herbs and spices. I like to add salt right in the bowl and don't add any to the stew. I've been using a lot of whole chili peppers since I bought a big package but dry chili flakes can also be used, or omitted all together.

As mentioned earlier, this post is part of a collaboration by #CDNFoodCreatives. For more delicious and healthy recipes, check out these 12 Healthy Weeknight Dinners from Canadian Bloggers:

This Chicken and Chickpea Stew requires minimum prep and delivers maximum flavour. Easy, delicious and healthy it will become your favourite weeknight meal | Imagelicious
This Chicken and Chickpea Stew requires minimum prep and delivers maximum flavour. Easy, delicious and healthy it will become your favourite weeknight meal | Imagelicious
Posted on January 16, 2017 and filed under Mom recipe, Recipe.
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Bubble and Squeak Potato Cakes

Bubble and Squeak or Potato and Brussels Sprouts Cakes are a delicious side dish and perfect way to use leftover potatoes. These cakes are vegan and gluten-free and can be made with variety of leftover vegetables and different spices.

Bubble and Squeak or Potato and Brussels Sprouts Cakes are a delicious side dish and perfect way to use leftover potatoes. These cakes are vegan and gluten-free and can be made with variety of leftover vegetables and different spices | Imagelicious

If it Bubbles and it Squeaks, then what is it? I think this is they funniest name I've ever heard. Bubble and Squeak. Who came up with it? A quick search online revealed that the name might have been created to refer to the sounds that are made when this dish is cooked. I don't know... I've been waiting for my cakes to squeak or at least to bubble, but they didn't. Despite the fact that the cakes produced no sound, they turned out amazingly tasty. 

First time I made these Bubble and Squeak Potato Cakes was back in 2009 when I went vegan for the first time. Since then I've done vegan months relatively regularly, but eight years ago it was all new to me. I remember I was amazed at how delicious something this simple could be. I blogged about it then, so I'm just updating that post with new photos and a slightly modified recipe.

I made these cakes many times over the course of last few years. Traditionally these Bubble and Squeak Potato Cakes are made with leftover potatoes and vegetables, but I always cook them from scratch. I am not vegan, so I serve them with chicken or pork, but they would work great as part of a dinner salad or even as appetizer if made smaller. These Potato Cakes are vegan and gluten-free so they'll accommodate variety of diets. I love serving them with a simple sauce of ketchup, horseradish and lemon juice. 

Bubble and Squeak or Potato and Brussels Sprouts Cakes are a delicious side dish and perfect way to use leftover potatoes. These cakes are vegan and gluten-free and can be made with variety of leftover vegetables and different spices | Imagelicious

Bubble and Squeak Potato Cakes

makes about 10 cakes

Potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks - 2 pounds
Oil - 3 tablespoons
Brussels sprouts - 1 pound
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for pan-frying
  • Boil the potatoes.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, prepare the brussels sprouts. Chop the ends of the sprouts and remove the outside leaves and quarter the sprouts.
  • In a separate pot, boil the prepared brussels sprouts for 5 minutes or until they are tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Let them dry for a couple of minutes on a very low heat.
  • Mash the potatoes together with oil, salt and pepper. You may need to add a bit more or less oil depending on how dry the potatoes are.
  • Add the brussels sprouts and mix well.
  • Check for the seasoning.
  • Form the cakes.
  • Fry them in a lightly oiled pan for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the side is nicely caramelized and the cakes are heated through.

Notes: I like adding finely chopped chili pepper or dried chili pepper flakes to the cakes. I also add herbs, whatever I have on hand - dill, cilantro, parsley. As noted earlier, these are great with horseradish and ketchup sauce and with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Bubble and Squeak or Potato and Brussels Sprouts Cakes are a delicious side dish and perfect way to use leftover potatoes. These cakes are vegan and gluten-free and can be made with variety of leftover vegetables and different spices | Imagelicious
Bubble and Squeak or Potato and Brussels Sprouts Cakes are a delicious side dish and perfect way to use leftover potatoes. These cakes are vegan and gluten-free and can be made with variety of leftover vegetables and different spices | Imagelicious
Posted on January 11, 2017 and filed under Recipe.
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How to cook perfect mushrooms every time

Cooking perfect mushrooms every time isn't difficult - use these tips to cook perfect golden mushrooms without any fuss.

How to cook perfect mushrooms every time - use these tips to cook delicious golden mushrooms without any fuss | Imagelicious

There are three things I don't eat: celery, honey, and mushrooms. Well, that's not entirely true. I don't eat other things like tripe or chicken feet or beef tartar, but those aren't very common. As for the common foods that everyone seems to consume but I don't -  it's those three mentioned above. For years I couldn't stand the smell of honey, taste of celery, and texture of mushrooms. But as it turned out, tastes change and I am opening up to mushrooms. In fact, I've been buying them semi-regularly at Costco. They sell big containers of organic sliced mushrooms for under 6$ - I like the convenience of not needing to wash and chop them and the price is the same as if I bought whole mushrooms. 

There are tons of classic mushroom recipes but I decided to start learning and appreciating mushrooms with something simple: sauté mushrooms. I began pan frying mushrooms in a big skillet, painstakingly stirring them with a spatula, reducing the heat as they started to brown, adding very little oil. In the middle of it all, the pan would be filled with bunch of liquid from the mushrooms and they'd be steaming and boiling instead of sautéing. I did it again and again thinking that this is just how mushrooms are - they have lots of liquid inside and that's the way to cook them. That is until I came across an article on Food52 explaining how to cook mushrooms in a different way. Unfortunately I did not save the link to that page and I couldn't find it again, so if anyone has a link, I'll be really grateful as I'd like to link to it here. That article changed how I cook mushrooms now - there's no dreaded steaming, there's not even stirring. It's just cooking! Mushrooms come out perfectly brown and cooked - no chewy texture, no bland flavour!

These Perfect Mushrooms are great with steak, amazing to add to warm winter salads, delicious addition to pasta and omelettes. Whenever I buy that big container of mushrooms at Costco, I cook them this way and if we don't eat them right away, I store them in the fridge for a few days and add to various recipes.

How to cook perfect mushrooms every time - use these tips to cook delicious golden mushrooms without any fuss | Imagelicious

So, how do you cook perfect mushrooms every time? It's easy! It comes to three things: heat, fat, time. You need high heat; not the highest that would burn everything, but high enough to actually sear the mushrooms and not steam them. I usually use medium or medium-high, but it depends on your stove. Then fat - you do need fat and more of it than you'd normally use if you are like me and always try to reduce the amount of cooking oil or butter. I never measure how much I use, but it should be enough to generously cover the bottom of the pan. I prefer butter or vegan butter, not oil, but oil can also be used. I buy soy butter at Russian stores, it's really good, tastes delicious and vegan. You'll need butter (vegan or regular) in the beginning of the cooking process and in the middle - don't be tempted to skip that step, it really adds flavour! And now the main secret tip: do NOT stir the mushrooms! Add the mushrooms to the pan with melted butter, stir once and then forget about them. Depending on the amount of mushrooms, size of the pan and your stove it could be 5 minutes or it could be 10-15 minutes. Just. Let. Them. Be. Do not stir no matter how tempting it is. You'll know when to stir - they'll reduce by half most likely and you'll see them starting to get golden edges. This is when you add more butter and stir/flip the mushrooms and then let them cook without stirring again. Easy peasy! 

If you don't believe you can do it, check out this video to see how to cook perfect mushrooms every time!

How to cook perfect mushrooms every time - use these tips to cook delicious golden mushrooms without any fuss | Imagelicious

How to cook perfect mushrooms every time

  1. Wash and dry mushrooms. Mushrooms need to be completely dry. Slice the mushrooms
  2. Heat enough butter in the pan to cover the bottom.
  3. Heat the pan to a generous medium to medium-high heat.
  4. Add the mushrooms to the melted butter, stir and then let the mushrooms cook without stirring.
  5. Let mushrooms cook without stirring.
  6. Let mushrooms cook without stirring!!!
  7. Once mushrooms reduced by almost half and you start to see golden edges and there's no more steam, no more liquid and they sound and look like they are going to start burning soon, then add more butter and stir/flip the mushrooms.
  8. Let the mushrooms cook again without stirring. This will take less time than the first part.
  9. Add salt, pepper in the end.
  10. Add herbs if using. I prefer lots of fresh dill, but you can add parsley or thyme.
How to cook perfect mushrooms every time - use these tips to cook delicious golden mushrooms without any fuss | Imagelicious
How to cook perfect mushrooms every time - use these tips to cook delicious golden mushrooms without any fuss | Imagelicious
Posted on January 9, 2017 and filed under Video, Tips, Recipe.
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