This Mediterranean-inspired recipe, which can be on the table in under an hour, is a good example of the maxim “ingredients that grow together, go together.” Braised chicken thighs are nestled into a stew of earthy chickpeas, kale and cauliflower cooked down with lots of garlic in a silky tomato ragu. It is heart-healthy and packed with cancer-fighting glucosinolates and antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Serve over Israeli couscous, cooked rice, or simply as a stew with a hunk of rustic, yeasty bread. —The Stout Sprout
4 - 6
extra-virgin olive oil
6 - 8
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
red pepper flakes
Lacinato or Curly kale, well washed, ribs removed, and leaves cut into fine ribbons
concentrated tomato paste
15-ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
head of cauliflower, washed and cut into bite-sized florets
Additional Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
cooked Israeli couscous, cooked rice, or bread for serving
While the oven is warming, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven on the stove top over medium-high heat. Lightly salt both sides of the chicken thighs with Kosher salt. When oil is shimmering, add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook for several minutes until the skin is golden brown. Turn the thighs over and brown the second side in the same way. Remove the thighs from the skillet and place them on a clean plate to rest.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic to the oil still in the pan. Sauté for 30 seconds to a minute — allow to soften, but do not brown the garlic. If using the red pepper flakes, add them as well. As soon as the garlic softens, add the kale and continue to sauté, allowing the kale to cook down while stirring frequently.
Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and cauliflower, seasoning with Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste, and stir again, coating all ingredients with the tomato sauce. Allow to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the cauliflower begins to soften slightly.
Turn off the flame and nestle the reserved chicken thighs and any accumulated juices on top of the kale/chickpea/cauliflower/tomato mixture, skin side up. Move the skillet to the oven, uncovered, and cook for 20 – 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Finish under the broiler for a few minutes (1 – 3 minutes) until the chicken skin is crispy, taking care that it doesn’t burn.
Remove the skillet from the oven, allow the dish to rest for 10 minutes, and serve individual portions over cooked Israeli couscous, cooked rice, or on its own with some rustic bread.