A few years ago, Rachel Ray did a show called “Week in a Day.” On that show, she would cook five different dinners in one long afternoon. I don’t remember all of the food Rachel cooked for the week that I watched the show. But one of the recipes stuck with me, Catalan Chicken Stew. I had recently spent a few days in Barcelona, and the flavors in the stew brought back fun memories of that great city.
This concept of preparing meals fascinated me and I thought I would give it a try. Long story short, massive dinner prepping is not for me. I was exhausted at the end of the day. Not wanting to go through the whole five meal prepping thing again, I set out to make the Catalan Chicken Stew as a one night meal.
With a few tweaks (like not having four pounds of chicken poached and waiting for use), I put together a recipe that works every time you want a hearty, warm dinner.
Mixing It Up
First, I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in my Catalan Style Chicken Stew. The flavor of chicken thighs is more to my liking for soups, stews, or braising. The dark meat of the thighs holds its moisture better with the longer cooking times. Sometimes when using chicken breast (white meat), you end up with dry, flavorless meat.
But here’s the thing… You can use whatever chicken you have on hand. The chicken meat doesn’t even need to be skinless or boneless. Heck, you could use a whole chicken (you will need to cut it up, though). The stew will still be just as good.
Also, don’t worry too much about the veggies you add to the stew. I use what I have on hand. If I have a red onion, I use a red onion. If all I have are brown onions, that’s ok too. Rachel’s recipe called for a Fresno Chile. In some areas, these chilies can be hard to find. The point of the chile is to add some heat; jalapeno will work just as well.
You probably won’t need a substitute for the carrots or celery. These veggies are pretty much a staple in my house and likely in your home too. I do however, add potatoes. Not many just two. But my hubby likes his carbs and without the potatoes he would think this was a soup, not a stew.
You Need a Picada for Catalan Chicken Stew
A Picada, what’s that? The picada is what makes this dish genuinely Catalonian. This dense pounded paste of bread, nuts, garlic, oil, and herbs is how the great chefs of Catalonia have been thickening their stews and braises for centuries. Don’t worry, the recipe for my picada is here as well.
My picada, like the rest of my dish, allows you to make substitutions easily. Maybe you have regular almonds, not Marcona almonds, or perhaps you only have walnuts. No worries, either of these nuts will work great, so will pine nuts or hazelnuts. For the herbs, you could use cilantro if you don’t have parsley
What’s important is that you sautee the bread, garlic, and nuts in olive oil until golden. Also, I’m lazy and while the original Calatan chefs must have spent a bit of time and muscle power making their picada, I use my mini-food processor.
A hearty chicken stew filled with veggies. Perfect for fall.
- 1 1/2 Lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 3 Tbl Olive Oil
- 6 Medium Carrots
- 1 Large Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Jalepeno or Fresno Pepper
- 3 Stalks Celery
- 1 Large Red Onion
- 2 Medium Size Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Pinch Saffron Threads
- 3 Tbl Chopped Fresh Thyme (I used lemon-thyme)
- 2 Tbl Paprika
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Salt & Pepper
- 32 Ounce Can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes
- 4 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1 Cup "Spanish" Green Olives (chopped)
- Cut the chicken thighs into large bite-size pieces
- Add olive oil to a stew pot or dutch oven and heat to high
- Add the chicken meat to the pot and brown on both sides
- While the chicken is browning, chop the carrots, red pepper, onion, and celery all in bite-size pieces. Chop the chile finely
- When you have finished browning the chicken remove it from the pot
- In the same pot add your chopped vegetables, herbs, and spices
- Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 7 - 8 minutes
- Add the chicken into the pot along with the vegetable mixture
- Add the tomatoes (breaking them up as you go)
- Add the chicken stock and stir
- Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes
- Remove the stew from the heat, stir in the picada and olives and let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 477Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 1125mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 7gSugar: 11gProtein: 36g
A Picada is an aromatic "sauce" made from nuts, garlic, herbs, bread, and olive oil.
- 1/4 Cup of Almonds (preferably Marcona Almonds
- 2 Slices of baguette (about 1/2 inch thick each)
- 1/3 Cup fresh flat leaf parsley
- 3 Large cloves garlic
- 2 Tbl olive oil
- 2 Tbl Fresh lemon juice
- Toast the bread garlic, and almonds along with the olive oil in a medium-size skillet until all are golden brown
- Allow the mixture to cool until comfortable to the touch then place into your food processor along with the parsley and lemon juice
- Pulse until the mixture is a pesto-like consistency
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 218mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g
Serve this Catalan Stew up with a green salad and some fresh bread and your family will feel the love!