It was one of those nights in the Crichton house where everyone was running in a different direction. Dinner needed to be ready by 5pm and available until 9pm–well really, until midnight if you want to count Gary’s post-hockey meal, but that’s anther story. I decided that I would give this recipe for Green Chickpea and Chicken Curry with Swiss Chard from The Crepes of Wrath a try. I had pinned it ages ago and on this cold, windy night a big, soothing pot of goodness sounded just right.
This dish came together easily. Sautéed diced chicken thighs (you can substitute breast meat of you are chicken thigh averse), with sliced shallots thrown in mid-way through the searing process. A simple curry made with green curry paste, sambal olek (chili paste), ground ginger, and coconut milk, simmered away before the chickpeas and leafy green were added to finish the dish. The recipe suggested serving alongside pita or naan but I chose to serve over simple couscous; rice would also work well.
Cutting to the chase, my first sampler was my biggest fear. The boy who still a year ago would well up with tears if dinner smelled too spicy or exotic, texted on his way home, “What’s for dinner?” My reply, “A new chicken recipe that I think you will love.” Let’s leave it at that, I figured, subliminally planting the seed. When he sat down to the table, I held my breath. Everything on his plate was mixed together, chickpeas are certainly not his favorite, and there are three whole tablespoons of green curry and two tablespoons of chili paste* in this recipe. He just may cry. But no, quite the opposite. He said that the dish was good and actually went in for seconds. Huge win. We’ve come a long way, baby!
The rest of the family’s experience went much the same but I used my success with child number one to sell the dish to the others. So when Reed called on his way home from hockey to ask what was for dinner, my reply, “A new chicken dish. Kyle loved it.” I need not say more. Enjoy!
*I initially added one tablespoon of the chili paste, conscious of my kids’ heat sensitivity, but soon added the rest because the broth can really handle and actually needs the full amount.
- 2 Tbls olive oil
- 6 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1.5 lbs)
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbls green curry paste
- 2 Tbls chili paste (Sambal Olek)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
- 2 c water
- 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced (any leafy green will do; I substituted bok choy)
- Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot.
- Add cubed chicken and cook over medium heat until almost fully cooked, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add shallots and continue to cook until the shallots are softened, about another 5-6 minutes.
- Add curry paste, chili paste, kosher salt, ginger, coconut milk, and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil.
- Add the additional cup of water. Bring back up to a boil, then add the drained and rinsed chickpeas and simmer for 20 minutes.
- After simmering, add Swiss chard (or other leafy green).* Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as desired--I added about a teaspoon more salt.
- Serve alone or with some naan, pita bread, rice or couscous.
- *When you're trimming the chard or similar leafy greens, the thicker, whiter parts are generally too tough to eat, but the smaller, more tender colored stalks and all of the leafy greens will soften as they cook.