Friday, November 11, 2011

Braised Chicken Thighs and Beans

braised chicken and beans, spilling the beans, Julie Van Rosendaal, Sue Duncan

While I was at Blissdom Canada, I had the luck of meeting Julie from Dinner with Julie.  (go check out her blog, it's fabulous!)  Soon after, a copy of her cookbook Spilling the Beans arrived in my mailbox, and I've been happily trying a bunch of recipes ever since.  We eat a lot of beans and grains in our house, as it's one of the very few things that everyone in my house will eat!

I highly recommend this book-not only is it beautiful to look at, the food that I've tried so far has been really delicious. My family loved this recipe, and so did I! We did leave out the fried capers for the topping, although they are in my picture.  I didn't mind them so much but nobody else wanted them.  If you'd like to try them, let me know and I can include them below.  I think the recipe would be just as good without them. 

Adapted From Spilling the Beans

2 slices bacon, diced
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed (although recipe calls for bone-in thighs, and you could use them because they are cheaper, boneless would save you time)
1 large onion, sliced
1 large red pepper, sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, minced
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
4 cups cooked white beans (or two 19 oz cans, drained and rinsed)
salt and pepper to taste

Using a large pot, fry up the bacon until crisp.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  In the same pan, fry up the chicken thighs until they are browned on both sides.  Remove them to plate.  Still using the same pan (because all that stuff on the bottom is GOLD and lots of flavor!), fry up the onions and red pepper over med low-medium heat, scraping up all that goodness from the bottom of the pan.  When the onions are soft, add the garlic and cook just a little longer, about a minute.

Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, beans, some salt and pepper to taste, then the bacon and nestle the pieces of chicken in.  Bring to a simmer and then turn down the heat, cover, and let it cook away for about 30 minutes.  Make sure to check it now and then, stirring occasionally to keep it from burning.

If you used bone in chicken thighs, when the stew is done and the thighs are cooked through, you then transfer them out of the stew to a plate, allow them to cool so that you can handle them, and pull all the meat off.  Add the meat back to the stew and stir.  If you aren't using bone-in thighs, still pull them out of the stew and shred, but you should have it easier.

Serve the stew over rice or noodles.  I think it would also be great served up in a bowl with hunks of crusty bread and slices of cheese!  Top with fresh shredded basil, if desired.

Serves 6-8
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