Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The usual suspects

The weather in Southern California has been interesting this week. Sunday was in the 90s and yesterday it barely broke 70. Today should be somewhere around 90, again. So, what to cook with roller coaster weather like this?

I had planned to BBQ chicken thighs on the grill but I really wanted something to warm us up. Yeah, I know, 70 isn't ice skating weather but when you drop more than twenty degrees it but a body into a tailspin. Here is what I did.

Chicken stew

Drain and rinse a can of cannellini beans. Mash half of them with the back of a spoon.
Brown the seasoned chicken breast in some olive oil then remove from the pan and let cool enough to remove the skin. Next go the onions and celery. There should be enough fat left in the pan. Toss in the mushrooms, don't forget to salt them a bit. When they get a bit limp add the rest of the cast of characters including the mashed beans and add some chicken broth. Reserve the unmashed beans for later. Adjust the seasonings and add the thyme. When I braise I want the liquid not to cover but to leave about a third of the thighs showing. Bring to a simmer, barely, cover and cook for about an hour until the chicken is done and the veggies are tender. Toss in the unmashed beans and stir to heat.

I served this with a mound of rice in the bowl and ladled the stew over top. The mashed beans thicken the broth a bit and add a nice texture. This is most colorful and quite tasty and you can really add whatever fresh veggies you have on hand.

Because I can't cook for only two I'm making soup from what was left. Shred the chicken, add more chicken broth and we've got soup for lunch.

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