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Padma Lakshmi's Chicken and Pepper Stew

Padma Lakshmi's Chicken and Pepper Stew
Padma Lakshmi's Chicken and Pepper StewNathan Congleton / TODAY

Chef notes

This is not your ususal one-pot stew. Earthy peppers, tangy tomatillos, briny olives and tart lemon juice make this easy chicken dish amazingly flavorful. Serve it with bread, rice, quinoa or on its own.

Technique tip: To cut the calories of this dish, remove the skin from the chicken.

Swap option: If you're not a fan of olives, or can't find Cerignolas, add 1/2 cup of vinegar instead.


  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs with skin, cut into chunks
  • Salt
  • 2 lemons, juiced, divided
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups diced white or yellow onion
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 green bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 4 Poblano peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 scant teaspoon black peppercorns, dry roasted and coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 pounds green tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
  • 1 pound small white potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup pitted Cerignola green olives
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped flat parsley



Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and add the juice of one of the lemons. Stir and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.


Heat oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over high heat, add the onions and all 3 types of peppers (bell, Poblano and black pepper), garlic, fennel seeds and oregano. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently (be careful not to burn the garlic).


Add the tomatillos and 1 teaspoon salt. Let cook for 5-7 minutes more, stirring often.


Add the chicken, potatoes, chopped apricots and olives to the pan. Pour in 3 cups of water and stir (liquid should just barely cover meat).


Adjust heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 40 minutes or so. Make sure to uncover and stir every 10 minutes to make sure there's enough water and it's not sticking to bottom. Add more water by the 1/4 cup if needed. When it's done it should have a stew like consistency.


Garnish with chopped parsley and drizzle with the juice of the remaining lemon.