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Shared by Léa Karsenty

Red Chicken Loubia

Yield: 6 servingsTime: 1.5-2 hours

Shared by Léa Karsenty

Large pot of chicken loubia
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Red Chicken Loubia

Yield: 6 servingsTime: 1.5-2 hours

Family Journey

Figuig, MoroccoMecheria, AlgeriaOran, Algeria
Toulouse, FranceParis

Loubia means beans in Arabic. To make this dish, Léa’s grandmother, Mamie Sara likes to use fresh flageolet beans. Flageolet seeds are harvested before maturity, which explains their pale green color. The white bean is harvested later, at maturity. Flageolet are harvested in September and October, around Yom Kippur. You could use any type of white beans, even canned, for this recipe.

Read more about Léa's family in "How a Family of Strong Women Spends Yom Kippur in Toulouse," and try their recipes for fried eggplants with preserved lemon, roasted chicken with cumin and paprika, and cumin fava beans.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • One large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 
  • 6 chicken thighs, room temperature
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • 32 oz. can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric 
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 lb. dried green flageolet beans or 2 cans white kidney beans, rinsed and drained


  • Step 1

    If using dried flageolet beans: Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with 3 to 4 inches of cold water. Soak at least 8 hours, or overnight.

  • Step 2

    Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a 12” heavy-bottomed skillet over low heat. Increase the heat to medium and add the chicken thighs to the skillet skin side down, searing the skin until golden brown and crispy, 5-7 minutes. 

  • Step 3

    Use tongs to turn the chicken thighs over. Cook for another 5-7 minutes. Use tongs to remove from the skillet and set aside. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet and add the onion and garlic. Saute until golden. Add the diced tomatoes and their juice, the ginger, nutmeg, caraway, black pepper, and turmeric to the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine.

  • Step 4

    Meanwhile, bloom the saffron in 4 cups of hot water. Drain the soaked beans; if using canned, drain and rinse the canned beans.

  • Step 5

    Add the beans to the skillet, then cover with the saffron water. Stir to combine with the onions and spices. Add the chicken thighs back to the skillet, placing on top of the beans.

  • Step 6

    Cook over low-medium heat until the liquid is saucy, bubbling and thickened, around 1 hour if using canned beans, and 1 to 1 ½ hours if using dried, pre-soaked beans. Add more water as needed if it evaporates too quickly — the loubia should be saucy. Serve hot.