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.
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
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.
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.