08 November 2007

Chicken Spezzatino

Basil. Yum. That is the greatest part of this recipe, I'm telling you. A half cup of that good stuff really flavors the dish well. What I also like about this recipe is that the broth really thickens up well, and all on its own. I've made this dozens of times (another goodie from Giada's Everyday Italian cookbook), and it always turns out perfectly. It is also a one-pot dish, and cooks up in about 30-40 minutes. Lovely! Perfect for the fall.

Tomorrow I have a Mexican soup for you, and then I promise I will ease up on all the autumn soups/stews. For a little while anyway.

Chicken Spezzatino (Chicken Stew)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 celery stalks, cut into bite-size pieces
1 carrot, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 (14.5-oz.) can chopped tomatoes with their juices
1 (14-oz.) can reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 chicken breasts with ribs (about 1.5 pounds)
1 (15-oz.) can organic kidney beans, drained (I also like to use garbanzo beans)

In a heavy 5-quart saucepan, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the celery, carrot, and onion, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the chicken and press to submerge. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, turning the breasts over and stirring occasionally, until the chicken is almost cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Add the beans and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid has reduced to a stew consistency, about 10 minutes.Discard the bay leaf. Let the chicken cool about 5 minutes.

Discard the skin and bones and cut the meat into bite size pieces. Return it to the stew and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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