A rich and hearty chicken stew made with peas, potatoes and flavored with achiote, cumin and smoked paprika that will warm you up on a cold night.
All day yesterday, I could not get warm. I grabbed a blanket, made tea, everything I could think of – and I was still cold. Maybe it’s because it was a damp, gray day. Maybe it’s because I was tired. Heck, maybe I’m just getting old. Whatever the reason, I was chilled through. It’s days like that when I crave dinners like this. It’s a hearty stew in a rich broth that’s perfect for dipping a nice crusty chunk of bread. Add a glass of wine and your night will be perfect.
The recipe calls for achiote paste, which is a reddish brown paste made from annato seeds sold in blocks. You can find it in Latin markets and in the Latin section of some supermarkets. This is a great make-ahead dish – the flavors in the broth will continue to develop if made a day or two ahead. Reheat gently before serving.
Looking for other dishes that will warm you up? Ever tried chicken tortilla soup? Go for it! After all, the groundhog says winter isn’t over yet.
- 3 lbs. chicken thighs
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
- 8 cloves minced garlic
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 Tbsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- 2 Tbsp. achiote paste
- 1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
- 3 plum tomatoes, diced
- 4 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches, brown the chicken, then remove to a plate. Set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the cumin, achiote paste, paprika and tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Return the chicken to the pan and add the stock and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer then stir in the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and carrots and cook until the chicken is very tender and the potatoes are cooked though, about 25 minutes.
- Stir in the peas and cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve, sprinkle with chopped cilantro.