I do believe that I have fully conquered my fear and loathing of chickpeas! After a week on business in mesmerizing India, I thought for sure I would be craving Italian cuisine for weeks to come….the familiar Italian spices, the familiar Italian dishes. And after a few nights back in the saddle in my (mostly) Italian kitchen, I surprisingly found myself not only craving Indian spices ….but chickpeas as well. Jet-lagged and relaxing over a morning cup of coffee, I perused my January issue of Bon Appetit. I found my mouth watering at the sight of an Indian-spiced braised chicken and chickpea recipe in the issue’s article on braising. My previous fear and loathing of the little beasts has now morphed into a downright craving of their creamy goodness. My chickpea work is done. This recipe is pure perfection – which is why Bon Appetit does what it does. The only thing I modified was the use of dried chickpeas versus canned – I wanted the BPA-free version and soaked them for a few hours before cooking in the recipe as described. So for one night…Our Italian Table became Our Indian Table. Bon appetito or as Google translates to in Hindi – बॉन एपेतीत!!
Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas and Spinach
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 6 bone-in chicken legs (thigh and drumstick), skin removed
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated peeled ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
- 2 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth
- 5 ounces baby spinach (about 8 lightly packed cups)
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 325°. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt. Working in batches, cook chicken, reducing heat as needed to prevent over-browning, until golden brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
Add butter and onions to drippings in pot; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and golden brown, 10-15 minutes.
Stir in garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. Cook, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chickpeas and 2 cups broth. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot. Add more broth if needed to cover chicken about three-fourths of the way up. Bring to a simmer. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise chicken until fork-tender, 45-55 minutes. DO AHEAD: Chicken can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool slightly, then chill, uncovered, until cold. Cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before continuing.
Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Add spinach to pot, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand until spinach is wilted, 5-7 minutes.
Stir yogurt into cooking liquid. Season with salt. Return chicken to pot. Warm over low heat (do not boil or yogurt may curdle).
Transfer chicken to a large deep platter. Pour spinach and chickpea sauce over. Sprinkle with cilantro.