Monday, October 13, 2014

Italian Chicken Stew

Happy Fall everybody!  This is by far my favorite time of year. Cold enough to make soups and stews, chilis and casseroles, but still nice enough to open the windows and let a breeze blow through the kitchen while you're slaving over the stove.

Now, I know I've titled this post Italian chicken stew... but please please please do not mistake this for someone's Nonna's recipe.  This is one of those situations where the ingredients in my refrigerator drove the recipe and what came out looked and tasted "Italian" to me.  I almost called it "Tuscan Chicken Stew" but then I realized that this Irish American Ginger knows as much about traditional Tuscan cuisine as he does about interior design.  That is, he may have seen a couple of people do it on TV, but he has absolutely zero practical experience with the concept.

Now that I've got that off my chest, let's talk about this crazy tasty and filling stew I made for lunch today.

Last night before I went to bed, I pulled a couple of boneless and skinless chicken thighs out of the freezer to thaw in the refrigerator.  The plan was simple... I've been staring at a jar of capers on my refrigerator door for the past few weeks and I had some fresh thyme sitting in my vegetable drawer.  That's what I had in my head as I was falling asleep.
I did my normal internet reconnaissance for "chicken and capers" and paged through a half dozen braises and sautes. None of the individual recipes held my attention for long, but a general concept began to form as I started to apply my pantry to the different methods presented therein.

That's when I realized that what I was imagining would actually fit into the structure of a Giada De Laurentiis recipe I'd seen on Food Network recently for, of all things, Franks and Beans.

Go freaking figure.

Italian Chicken Stew
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis' Grown Up Franks and Beans

3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 heaping Tablespoon capers
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, chopped
1 (14 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
kosher salt
black pepper
In a large skillet or medium saucepan, heat up the oil over medium-high heat. Generously season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and brown the chicken about 3 minutes per side. Set the chicken aside to cool.

Add the mushrooms to the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are brown and soft, about 8-10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the celery, garlic, capers and a generous pinch of salt and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes so that the tomatoes get soft and start to break down.

To the pan, add the smoked paprika, thyme, rosemary and another big pinch of salt and some fresh ground pepper and cook until very fragrant, another two minutes.

Add the beans and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Slice the chicken into bite sized chunks. (As if you were going to lay it over a nice big salad). Don't worry if it's still under-cooked in the center.

Add the sliced chicken to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 20 minutes to cook the chicken through and reduce the broth.
Serve the stew in a big bowl with a big spoon and a big hunk of crusty bread if you've got it.

No comments:

Post a Comment