Comfort Food: Chicken Stew with Tomatoes

Stews are all about the sauce and when it comes to creating a sauce rich with chicken flavor, chicken thighs reign supreme. Add leeks for subtle flavor (or an onion in a pinch), carrots, celery, tomatoes and a few olives and orange zest for a briny/citrusy touch. Serve this dish over rice or noodles or just slurp it from a bowl.

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Hands on time: 20 minutes


  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt for sprinkling plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, trimmed washed and thinly sliced or 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, about 4 oranges
  • One 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup blend of kalamata and green olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley, divided
  • Zest of 1 orange, divided
  • Microwave steam in the bag frozen cooked rice


  1. Heat a large pot with a lid over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers add the leek, carrot, celery, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt and sauté for 3 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Add the chicken to the pan and continue to cook, tossing and stirring until the bottom of the pan has turned a rich brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, orange juice and tomatoes. Bring the contents to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer the stew for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and shreds easily.
  2. Scoop the chicken from the pot and cut or shred it into bite sized pieces discarding the bones. Return the chicken to the pot and add the olives, half the parsley and half the orange zest. Taste and season the stew with more salt and pepper if it needs it.
  3. Cook the rice according to the package directions.
  4. Serve the chicken stew in shallow heated bowls with the warmed rice and sprinkle the tops with the remaining parsley and zest.
  5. Extra Hungry? Just drizzle a slice of good bread with olive oil and toast it in your toaster for a quick fix. You can even serve the stew over the toasted bread. Yum.
  6. In the glass: Something light, red and fruity. How about Minervois or Beaujolais?

Serves 4

Recipe Created by Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sinkful of dishes. Look for Carla on Facebook, Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest and at where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.

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