Pinterest is often an excellent place to troll for recipes because first you see the photo of the dish. I generally get an image in my head of what I want a certain meal to look like so even if the recipe got five stars, I won’t bother investigating if the picture is not what I had in mind. Years ago, when I went searching for a how-to on carnitas, I was looking for pork that was made crispy, more dark brown than beige. For me, Irish stew had to look like meat sitting in a bowl of Guinness. Pasta e fagioli had to remind me exactly of the pasta and bean dish that Rose Morelli made when I was a kid.
Last week, I had no such vision, though I was confident I’d know what I wanted to make for dinner when I saw it. Gimme Some Oven’s (gimmesomeoven.com) Italian Tomato Basil Chicken Stew was the ticket. I love chicken, I was Italian in a former life, and stew is something you can make ahead.
Naturally, I put my own twist on the dish because I can’t help myself. Also, the chicken breasts I had were frozen so I threw them in the slow cooker with some garlic salt and set it on high for 2.5 hours while I went about my life. Rather than chunks in this stew, the chicken was shredded, which was excellent, but sear roasting thawed chicken breasts would also work beautifully – possibly even better. I nixed the carrots because the husband doesn’t like them; instead of spinach, I used arugula; and I thought some balsamic vinegar would add a nice tang. It does. I liked this dish so much, I had it for lunch two days after.
I’m calling it, simply:
Italian Chicken Stew
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
3 cups cooked chicken (either sear roast, or shredded from slow cooker)
1 T. olive oil
1 small brown onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 28oz. can plus 1-14oz. can of whole tomatoes with their juices
1 14oz. can of cannellini beans
2 handfuls arugula, chopped
1/3 cup basil, chopped
¼ t. crushed red pepper flakes
2-3 T. dark balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and crush the tomatoes slightly with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the shredded Parmesan. Serve with chewy, crusty sourdough.