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Italian Chicken Stew

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February 17, 2012 by Sara Kreidler

I should be posting a picture of the wonderful CSA box that we received two nights ago, complete with feta cheese, honey, apples and salad greens, but I have no such pictures.  Alas, life got in the way and I just didn’t have time to take pictures this week.  So instead, here is a post about a stew I made almost a week ago.

The proper name for this dish is chicken spezzatino, and I’m sure Giada would say “spezzatino” in her way where she over enunciates to the point of absurdity, but I’m going to side step all of that and just call it what it is: italian chicken stew.  This is a really easy one pot meal and the chicken always comes out incredibly moist; the key is keeping the stew at just barely a simmer for the bulk of the cooking time. And like most stews, I think this is even better as leftovers the next day.

Adapted, barely, from Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 quart diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 chicken breasts with ribs (bone and skin still on)
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Good, crusty bread for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium flame.  Add the carrot and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until onion is soft.
  2. While the carrots and onions are cooking, stack the basil leaves one on top of the other, roll into a tube like a cigar, and thinly slice into ribbons.
  3. Add the tomatoes, stock, sliced basil, tomato paste, bay leaves and thyme and stir well to combine.  Add the chicken and press down to fully submerge each piece in the liquid. Bring stew to a simmer, the reduce flame to medium low and keep at a low simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, turning chicken over about half way through the cooking time.
  4. Add the kidney beans and continue to slowly simmer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken breasts and bay leaves from the stew.  Allow the chicken to cool for about 5 minutes.  Remove and discard the skin and bones and cut the meat into bite sized pieces.  Return the cut up chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  6. Ladle stew into big bowls and serve with good, crusty bread for dipping.
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