I love chickpeas, soups and pretty much anything spicy...so seeing that this dish has all three going on it's really no surprise that it's one of my favorite winter dishes. It's one of those rustic dishes that kind of tastes like home, no matter where you're from. Super simple ingredients, relatively easy preparation and delicious. One thing to note though...I would consider this more of a soup than a stew because the broth is thin, but since it's served over bread I've stuck with calling it stew.
The original recipe, shown below, is from the Bon Appétit February 2012 issue and I've pretty much been making it consistently since then. Usually when I share recipes here I like to share my own adaptions that I think make them even better, but to be honest this one is so good in it's original form that it's pretty much identical to what you'll find here on the Bon Appétit website.
Two changes I do usually make though; I double the recipe below since it only makes about 4 servings and I roast my own peppers instead of buying pre-roasted peppers. Roasting your own peppers is so easy, cheap and makes your house smell so good that I strongly recommend it. As long as you have a gas stove you can follow my tutorial for how to do it included in this recipe...and then I promise, you'll never pay a premium for roasted red peppers again!
3 TBS olive oil, divided
2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 TBS ground cumin
2 TBS tomato paste (sun-dried tomato paste if you can find it)
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
4 cups water (sometimes I do 2 cups chicken broth/2 cups water to kick up the flavor a bit more)
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 roasted red pepper, chopped (or ½ cup from a jar)
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 cups 1" cubes country-style bread
3 TBS coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt; add to pot and cook, turning once, until browned on the outside, 10–12 minutes.
While chicken is cooking roast red pepper if roasting your own, if using jarred roasted red peppers skip this step. If you've never roasted your own peppers before it's pretty easy and fun...check out my post on how to do it here.
Once chicken is browned on all sides (doesn't need to be cooked through completely at this point) transfer to a plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to low and let oil cool for 1 minute; add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 30–60 seconds. Add cumin, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes; stir until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute. Add reserved chicken with any accumulated juices, along with bay leaves and 4 cups water. Scrape up any browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, occasionally stirring, until chicken is cooked through and tender, about 20 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a plate. Add chickpeas to pot; bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Shred chicken; add to stew.
Add red peppers. Stir in remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice; simmer for 1 minute. Season with salt and more lemon juice, if desired. Divide bread cubes among bowls. Ladle soup over. Garnish with parsley and enjoy!