Aida’s Coriander Chicken, Cilantro, and Chard Stew

Now here’s an oft neglected spice—coriander seeds, what you get when you let your cilantro plants go to seed. Although from the same plant as cilantro, the seeds have a distinctively different taste from the leaves. There’s just a hint of familiarity between them. This recipe, in which coriander is one of the star attractions, comes by way of my friend Aida Mollenkamp, author of the the highly instructive cookbook Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cook. The recipe caught my eye because of its other ingredients—chicken, cilantro, and the princess of leafy greens, Swiss chard. The coriander? That was the wild card. But oh my oh my, I love it in this dish. According to Aida the stew has classical Middle Eastern flavors. This stew is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. What a delight to discover how well coriander can play with chicken and greens.

Coriander Chicken Chard Stew on Simply Recipes

By the way, I highly recommend that you check out Aida’s book, especially if you are relatively new to cooking, or would just like to improve your cooking skills. The book is packed with useful diagrams, step-by-step techniques, and helpful cooking advice.

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Aida’s Coriander Chicken, Cilantro, and Chard Stew Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

Broth

  • 10 cardamom pods (or 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom seeds)
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 whole 4 lb (2 kg)chicken, cut into parts
  • 9 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste

Stew

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 cups roughly chopped cilantro, loosely packed (about 120 g)
  • 4-5 cups broth (you will make this in the recipe)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 pounds chard, ribs removed, leaves cut crosswise into 1 inch strips
  • Salt

Method

The Broth

coriander-chicken-chard-stew-2

1 If you are using cardamom pods, break them open in a mortar and pestle or with the handle of a chef's knife. Crack the black peppercorns as well. Put the crushed cardamom and black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, onion, lemon, and chicken into a large pot.  Add 9 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Skim any any frothy scum that collects on the surface of the broth.

coriander-chicken-chard-stew-1

2 After about 20 minutes, remove the chicken breast pieces and set aside. Once the broth has cooked for 45 minutes to an hour (the timing doesn't need to be precise), turn off the heat and remove the chicken legs and thighs from the pot.

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3 Strain the broth through a fine-meshed strainer and reserve 4-5 cups. Add the salt to this both and taste.  Add more salt to taste. Save the remaining broth for another recipe (it will freeze well).

coriander-chicken-chard-stew-4

4 Remove and discard the chicken skin from the chicken parts . Strip off all the usable meat from the chicken and shred it by hand. Set it aside. Discard the bones.

The Stew

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1 Heat 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves, ground coriander, salt, white pepper and stir to make a paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring often. Add half the cilantro and cook until it wilts.

coriander-chicken-chard-stew-7

2 Add the broth (four cups makes a rather dry stew, 5 cups is a little looser) heat it to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.

3 While the broth simmers, mix the vinegar, lemon juice and red onion together in a bowl. Set aside.

coriander-chicken-chard-stew-8 coriander-chicken-chard-stew-9

4 Stir in the chard leaves a little at a time, adding more only when the previous batch has wilted. Add the shredded chicken and cook everything for 8-10 minutes.

coriander-chicken-chard-stew-10 coriander-chicken-chard-stew-11

5 While the stew is in its final simmer, heat the last Tbsp of butter in a small pan over medium-high heat. Wilt the remaining cilantro in the butter and cook for a minute or two.To serve, add the cilantro and the onion mixture to the stew, mix well and add salt to taste.

Serve with bread, rice or potatoes.

 

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Recipe adapted from and published here with permission of the author, Aida Mollenkamp of Aida Mollenkamp's Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cook

 

Links:

Wikipedia on Coriander

 

Coriander Chicken Chard Stew on Simply Recipes

38 Comments

  1. Kalyn

    Never in a million years would have thought of putting coriander in a dish like this, but I am intrigued.

  2. Garrett

    Love Aida and love her book. The recipes are reliable, successful, and taste amazing. I made some coffee bean & chocolate cookies to excellent results.

    http://www.vanillagarlic.com/2012/10/gone-but-still-here-coffee-bean.html

    Thanks, Elise for informing me of another excellent recipe I should try from it. =)

  3. aida mollenkamp

    Elise, thanks so very much for sharing this recipe and my book with your readers — i’m so honored!

    • Elise

      Happy to Aida, it’s an awesome book! Thank YOU so much for allowing me to share this great recipe of yours with everyone. :-)

  4. Eric

    Lots of fantastic flavors in this dish, can’t wait to try!

  5. Miriam @ overtimecook

    This looks delicious and hearty- and healthy! Such a perfect combination!

  6. Patrick

    I went to the grocery store to get all the ingredients and I saw a few different types of Swiss Chard. I saw a local brand that was more expensive than the generic brand. Is the difference in price worth it for the better quality? I’m asking because I’m not sure of how much of a difference better chard would make for this dish.

    • Elise

      With chard, the fresher the better. If it looks good and vibrant, that’s all you need.

  7. Tina

    I would love to try this, but I’m one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap. I love the flavor of coriander, but I just can’t handle the flavor of the cilantro. I’m wondering… would substituting flat leaf parsley completely ruin this dish?

    • Elise

      I think parsley would work fine, though perhaps only use half as much. Most of the greens in this stew come from the chard anyway.

      • Sandy S

        Thank you Tina and Elise for the alternative to cilantro suggestion. A little cilantro goes a long way for me and 4 cups was sounding like a deal changer. On the other hand, flat leaf parsley sounds very appealing and I am looking forward to trying it in this recipe!

  8. Crystal@alovinforkful

    I absolutely adore Middle Eastern flavors. What really caught my eye was the chard though. A warm chicken stew with chard just sounds like the perfect thing on a rainy spring evening!

  9. kimek

    Looks really delicious. I cannot agree with You that coriander seed is a neglected spice. Among others coriander (both seeds and leaves) is a base spice in Indian recipes and I cannot imagine true Indian dish without coriander. Try one from my site: indian chicken recipe

  10. Laura

    Very interesting about the cilantro and coriander. I’ve always used those terms interchangable to refer to the fresh herb but now I know the difference.

    • Elise

      Well, they really are the same thing. It’s just that often (at least here in the states) you may find coriander referring to the seed and cilantro to the leaf. Cilantro is also called Chinese parsley, as well as coriander.

  11. Brittney

    hi there!!
    im from NM and we New Mexicans like to have green or red chili with our meal.. would red/green chili work with this dish?

    • Elise

      Personally I think it’s fine just the way it is. My colleague Hank likes things with a little spice so he added some red chili sauce to it which he liked. So really it’s up to you. I would make it as is and then go from there.

  12. Diane T.

    Just planted cilantro and a pony-pack of 6 rainbow chard. Your post is impeccably timed! Thank you. I appreciate your complete instructions starting with the broth. I had not considered measuring water for broth, but I see the value of it now!

  13. Cindy

    Elise, in the text you talk about coriander seeds, but in the recipe ingredient list you have cardamom. Two different things, right?

    • Elise

      The ground coriander seeds are listed in the ingredients for the stew, the cardamom for the broth.

  14. ann@acbcdesign

    This looks so good! Coriander is one of my favorite spices – use it all the time! Can’t wait to try this one out. Plus I love the pinkish hue the broth has.

    • Elise

      Hi Ann, I think the pinkish hue from the broth is a result of my using chard with red stalks. The red onions help cast some pink into the dish as well.

  15. Liza

    Wow, this looks exactly like the recipe for middle eastern “Molokhia,” in fact I think it is pretty much that. Since it is hard to find the molokhia leaves (they’re a wild plant that you have a hard time finding in the US) I suppose any leafy greens will work in a cinch.
    This is one of my favorite Lebanese dishes so I’m very tempted to try it with chard since I don’t have any of the other leaves on hand. The coriander sounds strange to some people, but it really makes this dish tasty and unique.

  16. Janet

    I love to make soup and can’t wait to try this one. Can you tell me if the cardamom is black, green, or white? Thanks!

  17. karenaperville

    Six to eight garlic cloves? Count me out on this recipe.

    • Modify the recipe

      If you don’t like garlic, use less garlic. The food police won’t come get you.

  18. Lisa

    Made this last night and this is going into my permanent rotation for weekend cooking. I didn’t change a single thing–made the recipe exactly as published. I could tell from the way my house smelled with the chicken simmering in the pot that it was going to be delicious –and it was! The flavors are complex and balanced and all-around lovely. We really liked the texture contrast with the bits of raw red onion. I think next time I’ll make some smashed potatoes and put a scoop of those in the bottom of the bowl before ladling the stew over.

  19. Tony Stark

    I suggest toasting the coriander before grinding it.

    This stew has very complex flavors that develop with each sip.
    The flavor of the vinegar is quite clear so use good stuff and not too much. Perhaps scallot instead oof the red onion?

  20. Anne Murphy

    Made this yesterday and it is delish! I modified a few things. Used a whole chicken rather than cutting it up into parts and let it simmer in broth for about an hour. I also removed the skin prior to cooking to cut back on calories. Lastly – after I removed the chicken I let the broth cook down to 5 cups (less than an hour) to really bring out the flavors. This is a really flavorful stew and I will definitely make it again.

  21. Cynthia

    I made this tonight for the first time for company, and it was unbelievably good! I was a little nervous with the amount of cilantro that was used as well as using cardamom in the broth, but all of the flavors fused beautifully together. I just went on Amazon and purchased Aida’s cookbook!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  22. Charis

    I made this tonight for the 2nd time. I didn’t have a whole chicken, but has some bone broth in the freezer as well as some thigh meat and it was so yummy. The first time I made it I subbed shallots for red onion and it was great that way too. This time I subbed green garlic for the garlic clove and it worked. I like to add a bit of cayenne to my own bowl for a heat element. I will keep making this one whenever we have chard in our csa box. It is a winner! We serve it with homemade sour dough.

  23. Jayne

    I have Aida’s book! I’ve been flitting around with this recipe, not sure if I’d like it or not. You’ve convinced me to give this a go. :-)

  24. Maureen

    This was so surprisingly delicious! I am not a huge fan of Cilantro but I had a bunch in the fridge. Then I bought a bunch of chard at the farmers market yesterday. I made the following changes that resulted in a bright, flavorful and zesty dish. I used five boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken. I browned them slightly before adding all the spices and water for the broth. Instead of a red onion I used a white, sweet onion and white wine vinegar, this made it very bright. I will definitely make this again.

  25. Brianna

    I made this recipe last night, and both my husband and I loved it. I stayed almost exactly true to the recipe (though I had to sub green onions for the final 1/2 red onion, out of necessity) and the flavors were deliciously complex and warming. This is most definitely weekend cooking, and I’d suggest that the total prep/cook time is underestimated. This recipe took me more than 2 hours, even with some prep help. I’ll be making this again for sure! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  26. Stacey

    Thank you so much for this recipe. Made it today, precisely as written, for my husband who generally does not consider soup to be real food. It is heavenly, the best soup we’ve ever had. I was scared by the amount of chard as I was adding it, but it took on the wonderful, buttery flavor of the broth, and we couldn’t get enough of it. The complexity of the flavors was so unexpected. This will be my new ‘go-to’ broth recipe for sure. Definitely inspired to purchase Aida’s book and can’t wait to try other dishes!

  27. Whitney

    I have been eyeing this recipe for some time now…I am so glad I decided to make it! It is one of the most delicious soups/stews I have ever tasted.

    I have only one question about it. How did you keep your swiss chard so bright green? Mine turned a very drab olive color after simmering in the broth (not that it affected the taste!). Just curious for presentation purposes. Thanks!

    • Elise

      Hi Whitney, good question, I don’t know! It may be because we were using rainbow chard? Also, we barely cook the very green cilantro before adding it in.

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