Friday, October 8, 2010

chicken, white bean & spinach stew

I woke up yesterday to gray skies and drizzle; the ideal weather for a comforting bowl of stew. Since my eating habits the last few days haven't been especially honorable I wanted to make amends with a healthy, light, vegetable-packed meal. For this reason I eschewed rich beef in favor of chicken, and from there knew I would have to include some type of bean, because I love beans and cook with them a lot.

What I ended up with was a somewhat bastardized version of the famed "pasta e fagioli." It was a perfect tonic to slurp down under a blanket on the couch, next to my hubby, as rain pelted the windows and the wind blew.

Chicken, White Bean & Spinach Stew

3 - 3 1/2  lbs. bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
6 cups reduced-salt chicken broth 
3 carrots, sliced
4 ribs celery, sliced
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf
1/8 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried rosemary, crumbled
1 can cannellini beans
1 cup small dried pasta of choice (I used Barilla Ditalini), cooked as directed on box and reserved
1 bag baby spinach, long stems removed
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
1 lemon, zested; then cut in half for juicing
fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese
extra-virgin olive oil

Place thighs in soup pot; cover with chicken stock. (If stock doesn't cover chicken, add enough water so it is just covered.) Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic cloves, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary to pot.

Simmer thighs  for 20-25 minutes, depending on size, until they are cooked through and tender. Remove thighs from pot with tongs and set aside until cool enough to handle. While chicken cools, mash vegetables in pot with a potato masher until well-broken up and rough looking (if vegetables aren't soft enough to crush, let simmer until they are). Continue to simmer broth, uncovered, to reduce and concentrate flavors; at the same time, pick meat off the bones and roughly shred it into bite sized pieces. Add chicken to pot, along with white beans and red pepper flakes; simmer about 5 minutes to meld flavors.

Just before serving, add pasta to warm through, then add spinach and stir until it is just wilted. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of lemon into stew, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle stew into bowls. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top. Add a sprinkling of grated cheese and a spot of lemon zest and serve with more cheese on the side.

Bon Appetit!

Update: The sauerkraut has been burping downstairs... it's aliiive!


  1. Mmmm mmmm good stuff honey!

  2. Tina, this looks great. It is on my to-cook list. I am so glad you are doing this. You are a great cook. Say hello to Aaron.

    Melody and Ken

  3. Yummmm! If a recipe comes from you I know it will be good. Can't wait to try. I am always looking for new soups.

  4. Nice photos by the way which really make me want to make it!

  5. omg Teener, this is so nicely put together... the format, the photos, and mostly the culinary ideas. I have officially become a 'follower' of your blog, so I guess that means I'll get notified when you post something new. I am going to go look for grapes and see if i can do a Mrs. Jones pie.

  6. So excellent, Tina! I finally made this last week and we loved it. Mine turned out more like a soup than a stew, so I will try mashing the veggies more next time...definitely a keeper. Brisket next...mmmmm
    See you at Bid & Boogie tonight! R&R

  7. Rita - Did you simmer until the veggies were really soft, and then continue to simmer uncovered while you picked the chicken from the bones? Mine ended up reducing quite a bit, but maybe I used a wider pan. You could also add the white beans before the chicken and mash them up a bit to thicken the broth if it seems too soupy.
    So glad you tried it and still liked it! Let me know what you think of the brisket!! XOXO

  8. Tina, the veggies were fairly soft but we were so keen to dip into this that I don't think I left it simmering long enough, so didn't reduce like yours did. I think I used the same size pan. Still loved it...we usually freeze some soup for later but gobbled this up in a few days! I'll report on the next version...

  9. Just wanted to let you know I've bought the ingredients for this and have printed out your directions and tomorrow I am going to make it! I'll let you know how it comes out :-)

  10. This was so good. A hit all around! I doubled the recipe but made one little screw up and that was that I put the zest of one whole lemon in the soup + the juice- didn't realize I was just suppose to sprinkle a bit of the zest on top of each bowl- that's what I get for not reading the directions all the way through. Being a lemon lover I thought it was great though, as did Mr. Fix It :-)

  11. Hi Tina, You don't know me but I'm Susan's husby. I figured I should write and compliment the chef. That's a damn good stew we're talkin' 'bout here. Can't wait to get home to have the rest of it. Cheers.

  12. Hi Shae - Thanks for commenting! (The first of your gender - other than my husband - to do so!) Hopefully you'll start a new trend?!