We’re so excited to share this delicious recipe from Chef Freddie Bitsoie’s gorgeous new cookbook, New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian.
When I asked Chef Bitsoie for his favorite recipe from his book, he said it was the stewed chicken with golden tomatoes. It’s a dish that’s near and dear to his heart because he grew up eating it at his Navajo grandmother’s home in southern Colorado. It was only after attending culinary school many years later that he realized that this recipe was his family’s version of chicken cacciatore—an Italian dish made of chicken, braised with tomatoes and aromatics.
Native Flavors With Culinary School Techniques
Chef Bitsoie’s stewed chicken has all of the flavors of native plants (the tomatoes and the three peppers) combined with French cooking techniques he learned in culinary school.
He recommends skin-on boneless chicken thighs because he loves the caramelized flavor of the skin once it gets brown and crispy. You can, however, use bone-in chicken if that’s your preference. To make, he heats oil over high heat in a heavy-bottomed pan. Then, he browns the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side until the skins gets good and crispy.
Next, the wine and stock are added to deglaze the pan—this helps release all the delicious brown bits that get stuck to the bottom of the pot. Deglazing is a wonderful chef trick that adds extra depth of flavor. Simmer the dish longer for a thicker stew.
Why Use Different Types of Peppers?
Chef Bitsoie calls for three different types of peppers in this recipe because they all add something unique. The yellow bell pepper lends a certain color and sweetness that you don’t find in the other peppers. The green bell pepper adds a bit more bitterness. The New Mexican chilis have their own smoky earthiness that you don’t find in bell peppers. And depending on the pepper, there may be an added spiciness as well.
If you can’t find New Mexican or Hatch chilis, you can substitute with Anaheim chilis. If you can’t find either of those, you can just use more green bell peppers or other peppers of your choice. The same goes for yellow bell peppers—feel free to substitute with red bell peppers. The color and flavor will be different, but the flavors will still work together in this dish.
Why Does This Recipe Call for Golden Tomatoes?
Chef Bitsoie suggests using golden heirloom tomatoes due to their beautiful color, but any heirloom tomato is fine. If you’re making this recipe when tomatoes are not in season, you can substitute about a quart of red and golden grape tomatoes, which have more flavor than other types of store-bought tomatoes. They are also easier to use in this recipe since you can just throw them in whole—no dicing required.
What to Serve with This Dish
Chef Bitsoie serves this dish with a side of pasta, preferably spaghetti or linguine because that’s what his nephew enjoys. When he’s making the recipe for his mom or grandmother, he serves it with rice. You can serve the chicken however you like, but it’s best with a bit of starch like pasta or mashed potatoes to soak up all of that delicious stewed flavor.
Stewed Chicken with Golden Tomatoes from "New Native Kitchen"
Chef Bitsoie recommends skin-on boneless chicken thighs because he loves the caramelized flavor of the skin once it gets brown and crispy. You can, however, use bone-in chicken if that’s your preference. The cooking time may be a tad longer, in that case.
Reprinted from New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian by Chef Freddie Bitsoie & James O. Fraioli. Photos copyright © 2021 by Quentin Bacon. Published by ABRAMS.
3 tablespoons canola oil
6 skin-on boneless chicken thighs
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 New Mexican or Anaheim green chili, seeded and diced
1 small onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
4 fresh sage leaves
2 cups (480 ml) dry white wine
4 cups (960 ml) chicken stock
2 golden heirloom tomatoes, diced (or 1 quart/540g) red and golden grape tomatoes)
Season and sear the chicken:
In a cast-iron pan or Dutch oven over high heat, add the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and sear until browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Cook the bell pepper, aromatics, and herbs:
To the pan add the bell peppers, green chili, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and sage. Sauté until the peppers are soft and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Braise the chicken:
Add the wine along with the chicken, stock, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and allow to simmer for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (75°C). Adjust the seasoning if necessary, remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
Serve the chicken immediately with the sauce spooned over the top.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 29g||37%|
|Saturated Fat 7g||35%|
|Total Carbohydrate 18g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||8%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 104mg||519%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|