It’s been a real spring day today, with bursts of brilliant sunshine interrupted by squalls of rain. The mountain opposite the house has been disappearing periodically behind a veil of clouds, then suddenly appearing again, green and lush with all the new growth. The thick stone walls are still keeping the house cool, a blessing in summer when the air is hot and still, but that coolness gave me a craving for something extra warming and hearty for lunch.
I think we are so often invested in getting meals on the table quickly, that it’s been a change for most of us to have all this time at home where we can spend longer in the kitchen. Of course, longer cooking doesn’t necessarily mean more effort, as today’s recipe ‘Braised Chicken and Beans’ proves. The preparation is simple: browning the meat and quickly cooking some onions, garlic and herbs. Then the whole lot is covered and left to putter away on the stovetop for around an hour, requiring no more intervention from you than stirring in some tinned beans at the last minute. Despite this simplicity, it is a rich and satisfying meal.
Slow braising is an excellent way of cooking the cheaper cuts of meat, as the longer cooking time makes the meat melt-in-the-mouth tender. Flavours are concentrated and deepened and the house has time to fill with tempting aromas. This is one of those meals that is even delicious cooked the day before and then reheated, though it hardly gets a chance in my house!
Even though there are beans in this recipe, I’d suggest serving it with a big loaf of farmhouse style bread. Tearing off chunks and greedily mopping up the sauce has to be one of life’s great pleasures.
Take care out there and happy cooking, x J
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin removed
- or: 4 whole chicken legs, Marylands, bone-in, skin removed
- 2 onions, peeled, halved and cut into slices from root to tip
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 100 ml white wine
- 500 ml hot chicken stock, from powder or cubes, is fine
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 400g tins cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 pinch of chilli flakes, optional
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Melt the butter in a wide, deep-sided saucepan over medium heat. Brown the chicken well, cooking for at least 3 minutes without moving on each side. Don’t rush this step, remember the colour is the flavour. Remove the chicken and set aside.
- Add the onion and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, then pour in the wine. Let it bubble up, then use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned on flavour on the bottom of the pan.
- Whisk the chicken stock, tomato paste and sugar together, then pour into the pan. Season with freshly ground black pepper, then return the chicken to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered with a tightly fitted lid for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, uncover the pan and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
- In the last 10 minutes of cooking time, stir through the beans and the chilli flakes (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve in flat bowls with plenty of fresh bread to mop up the sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I don’t like chicken with the bone in / my guests don’t eat chicken with the bone in. Can I use boneless thighs?
Yes you can, though it adds a lot of flavour and body to the dish to leave it in. Consider shredding the chicken from the bone before serving, but if you are determined, this dish will also work with boneless chicken thighs.
I don’t eat chicken leg meat, can this be made with chicken breasts?
It can, though the meat will not be as tender. Chicken breasts are more suited to quick cooking, though they will still be perfectly delicious. Cut them into halves or thirds depending on the size of the breast.
Can I add other vegetables with the braised chicken?
I don’t see why not! Some chopped zucchini added in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time would go well with these flavours, though I prefer to leave them unadulterated and serve vegetables on the side instead.