I told you it would happen!
Here it is, September 7th, and already I'm breaking out my heavy pot.
In most kitchens, a pot this heavy probably wouldn't be welcome until the seasonal leaves and crisp air make their debut. It's the kind of pot that you reserve expending the energy needed to lug it out from inside the bottom of the kitchen island for no other reason than you ate your weight in cider donuts at the orchard earlier in the day, and you need the workout. Hmm. Maybe that's why it's my favorite pot.
Mmm. Cider donuts.
This pot is merely the vehicle that brings this hearty, comforting, exotic, and easy (Easy! So serious!) chicken stew your way. And, in all fairness, I have some rather good excuses for choosing this recipe if I do say so myself.
First, if you live in the Northeast, you know that it's been raining non-stop now for something like 80 hrs. Or so it feels. It's been damp, gray, and even a little bit chilly. (I'm sorry, but it was 58 degrees yesterday evening, and I was just not prepared to deal with that.)
Second, my husband and I just registered for our first half marathon, which takes place in a few weeks in Atlantic City. We were supposed to run one in Hershey, PA, that weekend instead, but we stalled for awhile (stupid nerves) and the registration closed without us. But AC, we're ready for you. We can do it. It'll be fun.
Really, I cannot wait to run and breathe heavy for 2 hours, without the promise of Hershey's chocolate at the finish line. Sounds super. Got any problems you need help with? Send them my way. I'll have 2 solid hours with nothing else to do but to solve them for you.
For these reasons alone, I'm in the mood for a little end-of-summer comfort food. And I'll take what I can get, even if that means stew on the stove in early September.
Today's recipe is inspired by this week's endless rain, slightly cooler temperatures, overall grayness, and half marathon jitters. It is a healthy, hearty, satisfying meal that won't derail you from your goals, whatever they may be, when you need a little comforting.
Mediterranean Chicken Stew with Cinnamon Couscous
adapted from TheKitchn.com
Yields 4 servings
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes, in puree
1 15-oz can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
3 c low sodium chicken broth, divided
2 bay leaves
1 lb cooked chicken breast
1/2 c pitted kalamata olives, coursely chopped
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 10-oz box plain, quick-cooking couscous
1/3 c raisins (I used golden)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs orange juice
Heat 2 tbs of the olive oil in a heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5-8 mins. Add garlic and oregano, and cook for an additional minute while stirring. Stir in crushed tomatoes, beans, 1 cup of the chicken broth, bay leaves, salt/pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook 5 minutes. Add the cooked chicken, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
While the stew simmers, heat the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth, 1 tbs olive oil, and salt in a saucepan for the couscous. Stir in the couscous and raisins, remove from heat, and cover. Let the couscous rest until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add cinnamon and orange juice, and stir with the fork to combine.