Bay Leaf-Braised Chicken with Chickpeas
- SERVINGS: 4
Bill Penzey recently discovered what makes Turkish bay leaves the best in the world. Most of the year, the bay trees that grow on the mountains of western Turkey benefit from the moist air of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. During the late summer the air turns drier, a phenomenon that helps to quickly dehydrate the leaves and concentrate their flavor.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 bay leaves
- 8 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- One 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- About 3/4 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1 large roasted red pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until almost smoking. Add the bay leaves. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until well-browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan; leave the bay leaves in the pan.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the skillet. Add the chickpeas and 3/4 cup of the chicken stock. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is tender, 17 to 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and transfer the chicken to a platter. Stir the pepper strips and parsley into the chickpeas and season with salt and pepper; add a little chicken stock to the chickpeas if they seem dry. Spoon the chickpea mixture over the chicken and serve.
With chicken, the preparation dictates the wine choice. Here, the bay leaves and roasted peppers call for a fruity, herbaceous white. Try a California Sauvignon Blanc.