In the kitchen with Jo: Italian chicken stew

Italian chicken stewPinterest 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

Servings: 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

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

INSTRUCTIONS:

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.

 

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