Italian chicken stew

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Italian chicken stew

On August 8th of this year, Northern California Kaiser Permanente's 19 hospitals began sourcing some of the fresh fruits and vegetables on the 6,000 meal trays a day prepared for the inpatients from small, organic family farmers. Since then, about 40 tons of produce has come from these farmers who earn their livelihoods from 50 acres or less.

The news of our local sourcing program spread. Starting in January, the Stanford University Food Service will join us in working with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, the critical link between Kaiser Permanente and the farmers.

Jim Churchill's organic satsuma tangerines and other magical citrus from his farm in Ventura will come to our hospitals and also to the 15,000 students at Stanford. It has been said that his fruits have healing powers. We are hoping that this program can continue to expand.

For the first recipe of the New Year, I chose a basic Italian chicken stew. I cooked it in a tagine (a really cool Moroccan ceramic flat-bottom pan with a tent-like lid) but a heavy covered Dutch oven or other large covered sauté pan would work just fine.

From your local farmers' market, pick up a pound of white, red, or yellow potatoes and some parsley. You will need to visit the grocery store for the rest of the ingredients. It will be months before fresh tomatoes are grown locally so I resort to the canned variety rather than passing on tomatoes for the whole winter.

This dish is great for a cold winter evening. It freezes well making an excellent, quick dinner another night.

Servings: 6


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (b and s breasts are good, too)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablesppons capers, rinsed, and drained
  • 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoons crushed red chilies
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pound potatoes cut into 1" chunks
  • 2 8 ounce jars artichoke hearts, rinsed, and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 8 to 12 green or black olives, pitted and cut in half


  1. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and shake to coat.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Shake off excess flour and brown the chicken on both sides in two batches.
  3. Remove the chicken and reduce the heat to low. Sauté the garlic, chilies, and capers for about thirty seconds until fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes and their juices. Cook, stirring occasionally until the juices are reduced a bit.
  5. Add the broth, chicken, and potatoes. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the artichokes, cover, and simmer another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  7. Stir in the parsley and olives. Season to taste.