This chicken and yellow split pea stew is comforting and tastes perfect when the temperatures drop. It’s a stick-to-your-ribs chicken stew that will warm you up on even the most bitter cold night.
I am deep into all things soup and stew, and this chicken and yellow split pea stew really hits the spot on a cold, dreary evening.
The recipe takes a little while to make, but it’s mostly inactive time. It’s perfect for a lazy Sunday. There’s nothing better than a pot of chicken broth bubbling away on the stove to stave off the Sunday Scaries.
How to make this chicken and yellow split pea stew:
This recipe is so versatile, so you can use almost any soup or stew vegetable that you like. As the name suggests, I used yellow split peas, which I love because of how they break down in the soup and create the creamiest texture.
If you like a firmer pea, you can cook it for a shorter time. I like simmering them for about 45 minutes to get that thick, stewy consistency. If you don’t have yellow split peas, you can also use red or brown lentils instead. The color will just be a bit different than what I’ve made, but it will still be delicious!
What you need
- Chicken thighs: I use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. You can also use a whole chicken instead. I recommend avoiding boneless, skinless chicken as you’ll miss out on extra flavor. If you don’t have time to make broth, buy and shred a rotisserie chicken and use store-bought chicken broth.
- Broth aromatics: I simmer the chicken with a bay leaf, onion, and a head of garlic. You’ll cut the top off the garlic–just enough to expose the cloves–and throw the whole head in the pot, paper and all. Once it simmers and becomes very soft, you’ll pop the garlic cloves from the paper and mash them into a paste to add to the soup.
- Stew: For the stew, I use leeks, celery, fennel, and carrots. You can use any variation of soup vegetables here. Onion instead of leeks or diced bell peppers would be delicious. If you don’t have celery, throw in one or two extra carrots. You could even throw in some diced squash if you like.
- For finishing: I finish the stew with minced scallions and lemon juice to add a little herby brightness to the stew. Try it with freshly minced parsley or dill. If you want to amp up the vegetables, throw in a handful of baby spinach or chopped kale at the end too.
How to make it
- Step 1: Make the broth. Cover the chicken thighs with water and add in the broth aromatics. You’ll simmer this for about 45 minutes. While the broth simmers, prep all the vegetables for the stew.
- Step 2: Finish the broth and prep work. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it and the garlic from the pot. Continue simmering the broth until it deepens in color, and then strain through a sieve into a bowl. Shred up the chicken and mash the garlic.
- Step 3: Start the stew. Fry up the leek, celery, fennel, and carrots in oil. Add in the mashed garlic, thyme, and yellow split peas.
- Step 4: Simmer the stew. From there, simply add the broth and chicken and simmer for 30–45 minutes.
- Step 5: Finish it up. Add scallions and lemon juice, and then you’re ready to eat.
Chicken and Yellow Split Pea Stew
- Large pot
- Fine mesh sieve
- 2½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 head of garlic, top cut off
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 leek, white part only; trimmed, scrubbed, and sliced into rings
- 4 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1 cup yellow split peas, rinsed and picked over
- 4 cups chicken broth from above
- 5 scallions, trimmed and minced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Salt and pepper
Make the broth:
- Place the chicken, onion, bay leaf, and head of garlic in a pot. Cover with 6 cups of water. Add more if needed to submerge the chicken fully. Add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked.
- Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a bowl. Transfer the garlic to a small plate.
- Turn the heat on the broth to medium and continue simmering until it reduces and deepens in color, about 10–15 minutes. Reduce the liquid to about 4 cups. It’s okay if you have a little more or a little less.
- Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard solids. Wipe out the pot and return it to the stove.
Prepare the chicken and garlic:
- Carefully pick the chicken from the bones. Shred the chicken and set it aside. You can freeze the bones for stock if you like. You can fry the chicken skin for a crunchy garnish or discard it.
- Pop the garlic cloves from the paper and mash them into a paste with a fork. Set aside.
Make the stew:
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the leek, celery, fennel, carrots, and sauté for 10–15 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent them from burning. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the dry thyme, garlic paste, and yellow split peas to the pot. Toss to coat and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt.
Simmer the stew:
- Pour in 4 cups of broth and shredded chicken. See note 1.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 30–45 minutes or until the yellow split peas are very tender. See note 2.
- Stir occasionally and gently mash the split peas, adding more water if the broth evaporates too quickly. Taste and add salt and pepper.
Finish the stew:
- Once the stew is thick and creamy, stir in half the minced scallions and the lemon juice. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat.
- Ladle the stew into bowls. Garnish with the remaining scallions. Enjoy!