Chicken, Pasta and Chickpea Stew

Cover recipe- Cooking Light: Chicken, Pasta and Chickpea Stew: Oct. 2007

Cover recipe- Cooking Light: Chicken, Pasta & Chickpea Stew: Oct. 2007

I reached for my beloved stack of old Cooking Light magazines for today’s post. We’ve had some chilly weather where I live, so the stew on the cover of Oct. 2007: Chicken, Pasta and Chickpea Stew- sounded like a good one to test.  This issue is a treasure that I’m glad I kept: 92 Fabulous Recipes for Fall.  Soup, stew and chili are all fabulous recipes for fall in my book!

The cover recipe is featured in an article about making homemade marinara sauce.  It’s suggested that a pot of marinara sauce can supplement dinners for an entire week- Vegetable Lasagna, Swordfish with Red Sauce, Mussels Marinara, Sausage and Pepper Pizza, Spinach and Ricotta- Stuffed Shells, Baked Ziti Casserole, Shrimp Fra Diavalo, Portobello Parmesan, Escarole-Three Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup, and this recipe… Chicken, Pasta and Chickpea Stew.  Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

Chicken, Pasta and Chickpea Stew

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Chicken, Pasta and Chickpea Stew

Yield: 6 servings (about 1 1/2 cups soup and 1 T cheese)

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 28 min

Ingredients:

1 cup thinly sliced celery
3/4 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 cups Marinara Sauce
1 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
3/4 cup uncooked ditalini (very short tube-shaped macaroni)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 tablespoons shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add celery, carrot, and onion to pan; cook 12 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broth and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with cheese.

Tips:

*I did not make the suggested homemade marinara sauce for this recipe- I used Classico Tomato- Basil Marinara instead.
*Fatty chicken thighs drive me CRAZY. It's hard to find substantial meat on thighs. I like to spend a little more and buy them at a nice meat counter. Shredded chicken breast would work just fine too.
*To make the soup ahead, omit the pasta and refrigerate or freeze the soup. As the soup reheats over medium heat, cook pasta separately according to package directions, then stir it in shortly before serving. Use leaves from celery stalks as a garnish.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 1/2 cups soup + 1 T. cheese
Calories per serving: 237
Fat per serving: 7.1g
Saturated Fat per serving: 2g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">724mg
Fiber per serving: 5.8g
Protein per serving: 15.5g
Cholesterol per serving: 29mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 28.1g

*Note that the nutritional info included above is based on the idea that you use the Basic Marinara Sauce recipe from Cooking Light for the sauce called for in this recipe.

Source: Cooking Light, Oct. 2007

The results:

This was a very simple recipe to make, and it was quick too. My soup/stew turned out a lot thicker than the photograph on the cover of the magazine, which could be due to the marinara sauce I chose to use. I’d probably add a little more chicken broth next time. I really love chickpeas, but I’m not sure how I feel about them in this recipe. They just seemed kind of out of place. If you’re not into chickpeas, white beans might make a nice replacement. I’d also prefer shredded chicken breast in this recipe. We liked the stew, but with beans and chicken breast in there… we might like it a whole lot more. Parmesan isn’t pictured, but you definitely want to sprinkle a generous portion on top.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

As written, I didn’t absolutely LOVE it, but the base recipe has potential. And for that reason, I’m going to have to say “no,” that I don’t think it deserved the cover.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

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