Spanish Chicken Stew
Where in the world are you longing for lately? For me, it’s a sunny place where humble food is prepared with passion, I can wander through the countryside all day, and a hearty bowl of Spanish Chicken Stew hits the spot at dinner time.
A simple, comforting dish of chicken thighs simmered with tomatoes, peppers, and classic Spanish ingredients like olives and raisins, this Spanish chicken stew recipe riffs on some of the traditional flavors that Ben and I enjoyed during our time in Spain.
In addition to being a complete, healthy dinner packed with vegetables and lean protein, this chicken stew is also a feeling.
Its simple ingredients and long simmer give it a rustic vibe that fits an intentionally relaxed vacation pace, with the everyday life benefit that you certainly don’t need all day to make it.
Start to finish, this easy stew takes about an hour, but most of that time is hands-off while it simmers. Its warm, rich smell will draw you into the kitchen as it cooks.
We served our stew over rice, an idea I borrowed from the Dominican chicken stew Ben’s host mom prepared for us when I visited him during his time in the Peace Corps (braised chicken stew is popular throughout the Caribbean).
Adding rice also stretches the stew’s servings, and I really enjoy rice in soup in general (this Crock Pot Chicken and Rice Soup is another fave). I’ve suggested this recipe serves four but if you add rice, it’s appropriate for a crowd.
This chicken stew is hearty but not heavy, a fantastic quality in a meal you’ll want to enjoy regularly.
Like most of my healthy soup and stew recipes, this one freezes and reheats like a dream. You can make it once, then enjoy the leftovers all week or freeze them for future healthy dinners on demand.
How to Make Spanish Chicken Stew
Like any good one-pot meal, the ingredients in this stew are flexible. Case-in-point: I’d originally planned to make it with potatoes (another classic Spanish ingredient that made its way over to the Caribbean)….but we were out.
Solution: I tossed in a sweet potato instead. Delicious!
Feel free to use other root veggies (butternut squash or carrot perhaps?) to make this stew your own.
- Chicken Thighs. I like using chicken thighs in stew recipes like this because they’re more flavorful and hold up better during long, slow cooking styles, such as braising. If you prefer, you can make this recipe with chicken breasts.
- Bell Peppers. For a beautiful, colorful stew, I chose to include yellow, green, and red bell pepper. They’re a tasty addition and are rich in Vitamin-C.
- Sweet Potato. My happy accident! Not only do they bring a light sweetness to the stew, but they’re also packed with fiber and antioxidants. If you prefer, you could swap in Yukon gold or russet potatoes instead.
- Smoked Paprika. A touch of smoked paprika instantly gives this soup a deep, smoky flavor. It’s not to be missed.
- Spices and Herbs. Dried oregano and rosemary, bay leaf, and cloves help turn this stew into a truly special, memorable dish.
- Crushed Tomatoes. The stew’s foundation. It makes the broth thick and rich.
- Olives + Raisins. These two classic Spanish ingredients melt into the stew, making it a little sweet and a little salty at the same time. Even if you don’t normally enjoy these ingredients on their own, here they work together in harmony.
- Sherry Vinegar. A critical flavor component. It gives the stew brightness and makes it linger in your memory. If you aren’t able to find sherry vinegar, you could try using rice vinegar or white wine vinegar instead, though I highly recommend sherry if you can swing it.
- Season the chicken, then sear it in a Dutch oven. Once golden, remove it to a plate (it does not need to be cooked through yet).
- Sauté the onion until soft, then add the peppers, spices, herbs, and garlic.
- Stir in the sweet potato, tomatoes, and broth. Simmer and stir for about 15 minutes.
- Add the olives, raisins, and chicken. Let simmer (partially covered) until the chicken is cooked through and ridiculously tender. Dice or shred the chicken, then return it to the pot. Drizzle in the vinegar, then simmer for a few more minutes. Serve with desired toppings and sides. ENJOY!
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Peel and chop the potatoes, peppers, and onion up to 1 day in advance, and store them in separate airtight storage containers in the refrigerator.
- To Store. Place stew in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Store chicken stew in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Serve with Spanish Chicken Stew
This stew is already a healthy all-in-one meal featuring oodles of veggies and lean protein, but here are a few ideas of what you could serve with it to bulk up the meal if you so choose:
- Grains. Either cooked brown rice or quinoa would be delicious served alongside (or underneath) this chicken stew. For a low-carb option, you could serve it with cauliflower rice.
- Bread. Dunk slices of Crock Pot Bread into the stew, or grab a crusty loaf from your local bakery.
- Salad. Try it with a light, subtly-flavored salad like this Anytime Arugula Salad.
More Healthy, Hearty Stew Recipes
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. This is beautiful enough to go from stove to table.
- Chef’s Knife. A high-quality chef’s knife makes chopping a breeze.
- Measuring Spoons. These use magnets to stay together during storage.
However you serve this healthy stew—over rice or cauliflower rice; dipped with bread; from a giant pot placed at the center of your table—I hope its bright flavors and earnest ingredients transport you somewhere beautiful.
Spanish Chicken Stew
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - plus additional as needed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs - about 8 thighs
- 1 medium yellow onion - cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 green bell pepper - cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 red bell pepper - cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 garlic cloves - minced
- 1 medium sweet potato - peeled and cut into ½-inch dice (or swap Yukon gold or russet potato)
- 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 14-ounce can low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup green olives - pitted and chopped
- ¼ cup raisins - optional
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- For serving: cooked brown rice or steamed cauliflower rice
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or similar large, sturdy pot. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs in a single layer. Brown for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until light golden brown, transfer to a plate. If the chicken won’t all fit in a single layer, brown it in batches. The thighs do not need to be cooked all the way through.
- Reduce the heat to medium. To the Dutch oven, add 1 additional tablespoon oil. Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften and turn golden, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the green bell pepper, red bell pepper, smoked paprika, oregano, rosemary, bay leaf, and garlic. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, just until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the sweet potato, crushed tomatoes, and chicken broth. Increase the heat and bring to a rapid simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring periodically.
- Add the olives, raisins, and reserved chicken thighs, along with any liquid that has accumulated on the plate. Partially cover the pot and let simmer 20 additional minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, dice or shred, then return to the pot. Stir in the sherry vinegar. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning (I found my stew tastes a little sweet, so I like to add a pinch of salt). Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with rice or other grains or bread.
- TO STORE: Place stew in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm stew in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Store leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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