I reached for my Recipes from Home cookbook (2001) with a particular goal in mind. The four boneless chicken thighs that I had defrosted needed to be part of the dinner plan.
The recipe “Chicken, Tomato, and Butter Bean Stew” had a lot of appeal, but it also had a few problems. It called for a whole chicken cut into eight pieces, seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes, and butter beans. Never one to be dissuaded by details, I decided to forge ahead, and simply be inspired by the combination of flavors.
I knew that I could substitute cannellini beans for the butter beans, and a can of chopped tomatoes would substitute for fresh. Cutting each chicken thigh into four pieces formed the basis of a stew.
This adaptation turned into a happy accident. It was an easy, one-pot meal that we both really liked. One that I will definitely repeat.
4 boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 medium to large onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 can chopped tomatoes (14 1/2 oz.) including juice
1 can cannellini beans (14 1/2 oz. Goya), rinsed and drained
chicken broth (enough to almost cover chicken)
olive oil, Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, dry thyme leaves
1. Film a Dutch oven with olive oil. Dredge the chicken pieces with a little flour. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil and brown the chicken lightly on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
2. Add a bit more oil to the pan. Saute the onion until it starts to soften. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant. Add a little chicken broth to scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Add a few pinches or shakes of dry thyme.
3. Return the chicken to the pan and add the can of tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add enough chicken broth to provide enough liquid to almost cover the chicken. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and place in a pre-heated 325 oven for 45 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the oven. Be careful. It’s hot! Add the beans. Stir to combine. Cover and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
5. If you end up with lots of liquid, you might want to remove the chicken mixture and boil the liquid until it reduces down. Then return the chicken mixture and re-heat. Check for seasoning. You might need more salt.
6. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if you have it. I didn’t, so I added a little pesto.
7. Really good served over rice.