If you are exploring new ideas on how to make chicken stew, try this recipe – it will dazzle you. This chicken stew with tomatoes, onions and basil is a variation of the traditional Georgian dish called Chahohbili (pronounced chah-hoh-bee-lee). It’s super easy to make, taking just under an hour including prep time. In the past this dish was made using game birds, but these days mostly chicken is used.
What I love about this chicken stew is that it’s practically fool-proof. As long as you don’t overcook the chicken when browning it, the dish will turn out absolutely delicious.
For this chicken stew I like to use a broiler-fryer or roaster types of chicken because their meat is very tender and they can be prepared by most cooking methods. Stewing chickens, in my experience, don’t work very well for this dish because their meat is tougher, while the stewing time in this recipe is short. You need a much longer stewing time than 25-30 minutes to tenderize them.
I like to start with sauteing onions. The reason for that is that once you brown your chicken and set it aside, it will continue to cook due to its internal temperature while you saute the onions. This will add to the overall cooking time and lead to moisture loss and dryness of the chicken meat.
Saute the onions over medium-high to high heat, constantly stirring, until nicely browned and becoming translucent.
Once your onions are done, set them aside and proceed with browning the chicken. 2-3 minutes per side is enough. Be careful not to overcook as this will result in rubbery and dry chicken meat.
Once your chicken is nicely browned, add sauteed onions and diced tomatoes, turn the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes.
Add basil, salt, freshly ground pepper, cover and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. If you want thicker stew, cook uncovered.
Remove from heat and serve with a side dish of your choice. I like to garnish this chicken stew with green onions and parsley.
- 1 whole chicken cut in pieces (broiler-fryer or roaster type)
- 3 medium onions (sliced)
- 5 large ripe tomatoes (diced)
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 3 Tbsp fresh basil (chopped)
- 2 tsp kosher salt (add more to taste if needed)
- 1 Tbsp green onions
- 2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut into pieces
- Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook them for about 10 minutes until soft and golden brown. Stir them often so they don't get burned. Set aside
- Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a separate large skillet or saute pan. Brown chicken on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown
- Add cooked onions and diced tomatoes to the browned chicken. Reduce heat to medium (or slightly lower if the boiling it too vigorous) and cook for 20-25 minutes. Do not cover the pan, you want half of the water released from tomatoes to be able to evaporate and the stew to thicken
- Add fresh chopped basil, ground black pepper and salt. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. If you prefer the stew thicker, cook uncovered
- Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish
- Serve and enjoy with your favorite side dish. I like to garnish this chicken stew with freshly chopped green onions and parsley