One Pot Chicken with Creamy Cassoulet Beans

For a split second or two I wanted to believe that the days would be getting warmer…there was evidence of this last week when Nashville was in the high 60’s, low 70’s, but alas that is not to be…yet. Gloomy…dreary….chilly…or depending on how you look at it, cozy…homey….toasty is what we have. A good time for making a substantial “One Pot Chicken with Creamy Cassoulet Beans” meal.

I know I have brought this up before, but have you ever been to “Lazzaroli’s Pasta Shop and Italian Market”? It is one of Nashville’s culinary jewels. Located on 5th Avenue North, in Historic Germantown, in an unassuming building, the small space is chock full of freshly made pastas, homemade sauces, every shelf is full of bottles of incredible vinegars, canned tomatoes and olive oils to die for. Cool-cases of cheeses and meats. Coveted small jars of Luxardo cherries, boxes of well-priced Maldon Salt, containers of duck fat and a multitude of Rancho Gordo Beans. The list is long, my blog posts are usually not, so do yourself a favor and make a food pilgrimage. Check their website for days they are open and hours.

I have been familiar with Rancho Gordo dried beans for many years and have cooked them often, but when I spotted these Classic Cassoulet Beans last week at Lazzarolis, reading the label front and back, captivated me.

One large pot with chicken pieces, carrots, tomatoes, broth, the cassoulet beans, lemons and herbs all cooking slowly from early in the day to evening. The chicken will be falling-off-the-bone and juicy, the beans creamy-firm.

A sprinkle of fresh thyme, a warm, freshly made baguette, wine and thou….Bon Appetit.

 

One Pot Chicken with Creamy Cassoulet Beans

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Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. of skin-on bone-in chicken pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for browning chicken pieces
  • 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 4 cups chicken broth and 1 to 3 cups water to be added as beans cook
  • 1 lb. Rancho Gordo dried Cassoulet Beans (or any dried white bean) soaked for about 4 hours in warm water before cooking…overnight is fine also
  • 3 bay leaves
  • a handful of fresh thyme, divided
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can of cherry tomatoes with juice or 1 can of chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 bag of ready to cook baby carrots
  • 1 lemon sliced

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add in sliced garlic and cook for a few minutes.
  2. Generously season chicken with sea salt and black pepper and add to the pan, working in batches,  brown on both sides until the skin is somewhat crisp.  Set chicken aside, loosely covered.
  3. Scrape oil and garlic from the pan into a heavy bottomed pot large enough to hold the beans, chicken and vegetables.
  4. Add chicken broth and 1 cup of water to the pot along with the soaked and drained beans. Toss in the bay leaves and half the fresh thyme and bring to a boil. Turn heat to simmer and cook beans for about 3 hours, or until they are just beginning to soften. Add water as needed. Cook time may vary depending on your pot and stove.  Check beans every now and then.
  5. When the beans are just beginning to soften add the tomatoes, carrots and chicken pieces to the pot. Nestle the chicken down into the broth and beans. Add more water if needed. Bring to a low simmer. Cover pot for about 1 hour, stirring gently every now and then.
  6. Remove lid when beans are soft, not mushy and add in lemon slices, slightly squeezing to release the juice. Cook another 20 minutes. Check chicken for doneness. Chicken should be falling-off-the-bone.
  7. Serve in bowls with additional sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and thyme leaves along with a crusty baguette for sopping up all those juices. A full-bodied red wine is great with this dish.

Teresa Blackburn.   teresablackburnfoodstyling.com