Mediterranean Chicken Stew

Mediterranean Chicken Stew

Why do I prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs to breasts? Let me count the ways:

1. Thighs are less expensive than chicken breasts.
2. Thighs (to my palate) are more flavorful than chicken breasts.
3. Thighs are more difficult to overcook than chicken breasts.

I know most folks disagree with my assessment and they do have a valid point: Chicken thigh meat has more calories and a higher fat content than do chicken breasts. But I already feel like I’ve given up enough by removing the skin on the thighs; I’ll just eat less meat. Therefore I’m sticking to my guns–er, thighs–especially in recipes such as this; chicken breast meat would be so easy to overcook in this stew.

Small fingerling, Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes would be an excellent substitute for the pasta. Scrub and quarter or halve the potatoes and cook, like the pasta, until almost tender. Add to the stew in the last few minutes of cooking time. Fava or white beans would also be a healthy, savory substitution for the pasta.

We enjoyed this stew with a crispy baguette, and bowl of Nicoise olives.

Recipe: Mediterranean Chicken Stew


  • 2 pounds (apx. 10) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks (white and light parts only) chopped and washed well
  • 1 small fennel bulb, stalks removed, halved, cored and thinly sliced; fronds reserved for garnish
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-2 cups white wine or chicken stock (or combination of both)
  • 1 cup fava beans or small shaped dry pasta, such as orzo or small shell (lumachine)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil, optional


  1. Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil. Season sliced chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. In a large, deep-lipped heavy- bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté chicken 8-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in leeks and fennel. Continue cooking an additional 5 minutes or until fennel and leeks are just limp. Add garlic, wine or stock and tomatoes to pan.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta, less than 2 minutes of recommended packaging cooking time. (Pasta will continue cooking in the stew.)
  5. Add semi-cooked pasta to stew and continue simmering until pasta is tender, about 5 minutes, adding additional stock if stew is too thick; pasta will absorb liquid as it simmers and continue to absorb liquid as it sits. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with fennel fronds, and basil, if using.

Time: 30 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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