So last week while I was on my little break, I spent lots of time in the kitchen. But I certainly wasn't making anything complicated. I wanted simple, fresh meals that would serve as a little detox after a few weeks of hard work. So there were lots of massaged kale salads, rice & quinoa bowls, lots of fresh vegetables, smoothies - ya know - simple things. I also made that really hearty stew you see there. I saw Giada de Laurentiis make it on the Today Show last week. She said it was a good weeknight meal - but I don't know of many good hearty stews that take less than an hour to make. Well now I do...
This stew is so good friends... It honestly does taste like it simmered on the stove for hours and it only took about 45 minutes from prep to the table to make. The vegetables are so tender and really flavorful. I often worry about cooking chicken in dishes like this because of its tendency to get dry, but I could literally cut the chicken with a fork alone after it cooked in this stew. The stew is totally customizable, too. I used fire roasted tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes for a little spice, and added white beans instead of the kidney beans used in the original recipe. I served it over my brown rice and topped it off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese (so good!!), but it can be served alone with a side of crusty bread, or on top of egg noodles. It's just a really good, simple, healthy, one-pot recipe that really is perfect for a weeknight dinner - and even better for lunch the next day!
Here is what you need and what to do (serves 4 to 6 people):
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used regular olive oil)
2 stalks celery, cut into small pieces
2 carrots, cut into small pieces
1 onion, cut, chopped
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 14.5 oz can diced regular or fire roasted tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 chicken breasts, bone-in with the skin on (organic is best- it's more tender)
1 14.5 oz can beans (kidney beans, white beans, black beans), rinsed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
1. Add the olive oil to a 10 in pan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, and onion. Season the vegetables with a little salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes or until they are slightly softened.
2. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme to the pan. Stir to combine all of the ingredients. Add the chicken, skin side down. Try to submerge the chicken in the liquid as much as possible. Bring the mixture to a simmer, put the lid on the pan, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, flipping the chicken about halfway through.
3. Once the chicken is cooked (it should be very tender, but not dry), remove it from the pot and set aside to cool. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cook for another 10 minutes until the stew has slightly reduced.
4. Once the chicken has cooled, remove the skin and bones from the chicken. Shred it or dice it and add it to the stew along with the peas. Let the stew simmer for a few minutes, then top it with the fresh basil. Ladle the stew into bowls and top with the Parmesan cheese if using. Serve over brown rice, egg noodles, or simply with a side of crusty bread.
Images by me