Slow Cooked | Braised Chicken with Chickpeas & Peppers

I hate when my husband gives me presents. I do. Why? Because he’s so darned good at it, and I, frankly, just don’t feel like I am. When it comes to selecting thoughtful gifts, he always seems to discover the perfect finds. Granted, I’m pretty easy to shop for; anything kitchen related works, and goodness knows there’s always something new and nifty to try. But besides that, my husband loves to indulge, and that leaves me feeling both forever grateful and embarassed.

When it is my turn to find “the perfect gift” for my husband, I find it so challenging sometimes (the man is the type who simply gets something if he needs it), and I generally tend to lean toward experience presents. Long before the whole Groupon and LivingSocial rage, I have always tried to present my husband with memory making adventures – there was a hiking expedition in Yosemite one year, and a whirl around the Los Angeles Speedway another, for example.

The one thing I am good at? Keeping surprises.

My hubby, on the other hand, not so good at that little detail. Our typical Christmas goes like this: the days leading up to the 25th, my husband will find presents, even have them beautifully wrapped, then plop them on the kitchen table instead of placing it under the tree. He just can’t wait! And this year was no different.

The doorbell rang, the man in brown brought a box, and my husband placed it on the kitchen table. Merry Christmas! he practically sang. Open it. I eyed him suspiciously, then started to open the box. Inside, wrapped within the signature Williams-Sonoma pineapple printed paper was the slow cooker I have been dreaming about.

I know, are you surprised that I don’t own a slow cooker? Well, I do now, and I have been using it far more than I expected. With holiday gatherings and late homecomings from activities, it has been a godsend, I almost can’t believe I have gotten along without one for this long. I’ve always loved braising foods in the wintertime, and this makes it so much easier for my busy schedule.

As you find yourself rushing about town, performing your last minute elf duties, wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have Braised Chicken with Chickpeas and Peppers waiting for you at home? A warm meal that you can enjoy with the ones you love, without the stress of hearing I’m hungry. How much longer?

Being able to sit around the table for a comforting meal with the people who matter most – that is the best present of all. And you don’t even need wrapping paper or a holiday to celebrate.

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Braised Chicken with Chickpeas & Peppers

Yield: 4 servings

While a slow cooker makes life easier, it is certainly is not necessary for this dish. Just a week or so ago, and I would have prepared this in a Dutch oven set in a 275° oven to braise until tender (3-4 hours).

Ingredients:

3-4 chicken breasts, bone-in
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced
2 slices of bacon, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
48 oz chicken stock
2 lemon slices
1/2 cup sliced red peppers
4 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup parsley, rough chopped
1 16-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
crusty fresh bread for dipping

Directions:

Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and paprika, and lightly dredge in flour, shaking off excess flour. In a heavy bottomed pan or a cooktop safe insert, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides, about 3-4 minutes, working in batches if necessary. Remove the chicken from the pan/insert and set aside.

Lower the flame to medium-low, and add the garlic and onion, cooking until softened. Add the bacon and let it brown. Add the celery, tomato paste, marjoram, red chili flakes, and 1 cup of the chicken stock, and stir until the tomato paste is incorporated. Return the chicken to the insert, and add the remaining chicken stock. Top with lemon slices and nestle the sliced red peppers, thyme, parsley and chickpeas around the chicken.

Set to slow cook on low for 5 hours, or until the chicken is tender and falling off the bones. Serve hot with crusty warm bread - it tastes wonderful dipped into the broth.

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by Liren Baker on December 21, 2011

15 Responses to “Slow Cooked | Braised Chicken with Chickpeas & Peppers”

  1. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } December 21, 2011 @ 10:43 am (#
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    Happy Holidays Liren! What a perfect gift for you! I am sure you are a good gift giver and hubby likes what you buy him. :-) This dish looks so delish and perfect for the chilly nights we have been having lately. Hope you are having a great day!!

  2. Jacqui December 21, 2011 @ 10:49 am (#
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    I’ve been using my slow cooker like crazy lately! It’s so nice (and exciting!) coming home from work to dinner already cooked and seeing how it turned out. Perfect gift, indeed. I’m all for the experience presents, though, too. This year, my husband and I went to a see our favorite band in concert twice together as gifts to each other. Happy holidays! :)

  3. Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane December 21, 2011 @ 12:15 pm (#
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    I feel your pain. It sounds as if our husbands are very similar when it comes to thoughtful gift giving. But, in the end, a good gift is a good gift and you were definitely spoiled (once again) this year. I love the Mediterranean influence of this recipe. And, your photos! They just keep getting better and better. Happy holidays, Liren!

  4. Melissa // thefauxmartha December 21, 2011 @ 2:05 pm (#
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    You make chicken look beautiful! I need more slow cooker recipes in my life. Merry Christmas to you and your good gift giving husband! PS—I’m a horrible gift giver too. It’s just not my gift :)

  5. jo December 21, 2011 @ 4:24 pm (#
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    This recipe looks and sounds so, so good. I have now come to like slow cooking as the end result seems much more flavourful.

  6. Ann December 21, 2011 @ 7:52 pm (#
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    Fantastic! Congratulations on your Slow cooker! I have an old (vintage) crock pot that I love, but I SO want one that you can sautee in and then stick in the pot to cook! The chicken looks amazing!

  7. Mary December 22, 2011 @ 6:40 am (#
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    Six cups of chicken stock? Is this soup-like? I usually think of braises as being stew-like. Could I use less stock? I like my soups thick enough so that a spoon will stand straight up in them!

    Also, did you use skinless chicken breasts?

    This recipe certainly looks good!

    Thank you.

    • Liren replied: — December 22nd, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

      Hi Mary, I allocated the six cups of stock for two reasons…since I was using chicken breasts, I wanted to make certain that the meat did not dry out, and also because the capacity of my slow cooker is rather large. You do not need to use as much, depending on your slow cooker and how much liquid you would like at the end. Two cups is probably more than adequate. I just liked having a lot of broth to soak up with my bread! As for the chicken, I left the skin on, but to save calories, certainly remove them if you like! Hope you enjoy it!

  8. patty December 22, 2011 @ 7:20 am (#
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    Happy holidays to you Liren! You’re going to have fun with the new slow cooker. I like to use mine on the weekends especially during the cooler weather- when we play golf or even for tailgating. Your photos look gorgeous, can’t wait to try this braised chicken and looking forward to your upcoming slow cooker creations;-)

  9. Joan Nova December 22, 2011 @ 3:26 pm (#
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    Merry Christmas and all the best to you and your family in the new year.

  10. Monet December 22, 2011 @ 7:24 pm (#
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    Ryan and I just opened presents…and we both did a pretty good job! As for this dinner? Spectacular. Thank you for sharing this deliciousness with me. I’m about to leave for Colorado, but I’m glad I had a chance to check in before I depart! Many blessings to you and yours!

  11. Kita December 23, 2011 @ 6:19 pm (#
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    Oh I can’t imagine life before my slowcooker(s). Its exciting that he gets you such thoughtful gifts. My BF is not so clever always waiting til the last minute (yesterday) to run to the mall in a panic. Im a patient squirrel, hiding presents all year long in anticipation. This chicken sounds divine! Merry Christmas!

  12. foodwanderings December 24, 2011 @ 7:53 am (#
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    Hi Liren, Love hearing about your and your husband’s gifting ‘habits’. Ours are so different and similar in some ways. I primarily wanted to drop by and wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and all the best of 2012. BTW the chicken dish is right up my alley. Yum!

  13. Mary December 25, 2011 @ 7:06 pm (#
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    )

    Thank you very much for the speedy response!

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