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The key to making this stew something really special though, is to make your own stock. But, if you must use store-bought, make sure to get the low-sodium variety. You’ll be cooking this stew for a long time, which means that any salt already present will concentrate.
- 1 1/3 pounds dried cannellini beans
- 4 quarts chicken stock
- 5 sage leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 onions, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 3 celery stalks, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch Lacinato kale, tough stems removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
Soak the beans for at least 4 hours in enough water to cover.* Store in a cool place. Discard any floaters and drain the beans. Place the beans in an 8-quart stockpot and add the chicken stock, sage leaves, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for about 2 ½ hours, until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and brown for five minutes, or until cooked through. Turn the pieces over with tongs about halfway through. Remove and set aside.
In the same pan you cooked the chicken in, over low heat, and add the onions, celery, carrot, garlic, and thyme. Scrape up any brown bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp tender. Stir occasionally. Set aside.
When the beans are done, add the reserved vegetables and the kale. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook the kale until tender, about 15 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot and serve.
Recipe Serves 8
Total time: 3 hours
*Note: The longer you soak the beans, the less time you’ll have to spend cooking them. Ideally, you should try to soak them overnight.