A little Harissa paste enriches the tomato bean mix. I used two types of beans – chickpeas, as a nod to the Middle East, and cannellini beans. To get a really good tomato flavor I used half a large can of San Marzano tomatoes, some tomato paste, harissa and chicken broth. San Marzano tomatoes are by far the most flavorful tomatoes. Spicy harissa paste can be too spicy for me, I prefer mild which adds a discernible taste to the tomato sauce but it stays in the background. Apart from browning the onions and searing the chicken, this is a one pot dish. For those of you who can tolerate bread, use it to soak up the juices. Pulses in any shape or form are good for you and I eat them almost as much as vegetables. Stir through the juice of half a lemon at the end – makes a real difference.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Half a large onion – chopped
2 large cloves of garlic – grated
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs – fat removed
Half a 28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes – broken up with a potato masher
2 tbsp. mild harissa paste (I used the Mina brand)
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup of chicken broth
1 can of chickpeas – rinsed and drained
1 can of cannellini beans – rinsed and drained
Pour 1 tbsp. of olive oil into a frying pan, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When oil is sizzling add the onion and let soften and brown before adding the garlic.
Remove onion mixture and place in an oven proof dish.
Pour remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil into the frying pan and, again, when sizzling, add the chicken thighs and brown them on both sides.
While chicken is browning, mash the tomatoes in a bowl.
In a separate bowl mix together the tomato puree, harissa paste and chicken broth until smooth, then pour into the tomatoes and stir well.
Tip the beans into this mixture and stir.
Pour the tomato bean combination over the onion and mix again.
Place browned chicken pieces on top and drizzle with a little sauce.
Cover oven proof dish with a lid or aluminum foil and cook for 45 minutes