Friday, January 15, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: January 15, 2010

Chicken and cannellini stew.

So! This week was completely insane, busy enough to keep me from making dinner even one night, the kind of thing I hope doesn't happen very often, but we got through it with help from my parents. And tonight, being Friday night, is a good time to take a deep breath and regroup after a week like this.

I sort of made this stew up, but I got the idea from an absolutely wretched cookbook of slow-cooker recipes. (I bought the book a while back from the last-chance discount table at Borders. Got one for my sister, too--Hi, Amy!--because she had recently gone back to work full time and I thought a slow cooker, with recipes, would be helpful. I actually looked at the recipes after I got the book home. Sorry, Amy!) I liked the idea of a hearty stew with chicken breasts and white beans, and the results were flavorful and comforting without being heavy.

Chicken and Cannellini Stew (serves four adults)

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into chicken-tender-sized pieces
1/2 cup flour
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 T. minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups chicken broth
2 cans cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
3 T olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion, carrots, and garlic until soft. Add the cilantro, chicken broth, and beans. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat 2 T olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Put the flour on a plate and press each piece of chicken into it so that both sides are very lightly coated with flour, shake off excess flour, and place the chicken flat in the skillet. Brown the chicken on both sides, turning once. Add the chicken to the pot.

Bring the stew to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Allow to cook for about 90 minutes. Remove the lid and bring back to a boil; allow to reduce to desired thickness. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve with crusty bread or over soft polenta.

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