Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 1: 3 Beans and Some Chicken

   Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
¼ pound sliced pancetta, from the deli counter, or bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¾ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock or broth
½ pound green beans, stemmed, then cut in half
½ pound wax beans, stemmed, then cut in half
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

In a shallow bowl, combine the lemon juice, about 1 tablespoon of the EVOO, half of the thyme, and salt and pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat, then let the chicken sit while you start the 3 beans.

Heat a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of the EVOO. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the onions, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and the remaining chopped thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes – you want the onions to get nice and brown.

Add the white wine and stock and continue to cook until the liquids are reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. While the wine and stock reduce, start cooking the seasoned chicken.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining tablespoon of EVOO. Add the breasts and cook on each side for 5 to 6 minutes, or until cooked through.

Add the green beans and wax beans to the reduced chicken stock and wine, stir to combine, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and cook until warmed through, 1 minute more.

Finish the beans with the parsley and lemon zest. Taste and check for seasoning. Serve the chicken breasts whole or sliced on an angle over a serving of the beans.


This meal is better than it looks (or sounds). I really like the flavors that the beans soak up: the bacon, thyme, white wine, etc. I couldn't find wax beans. The grocer said they only have them in summer time. So mine should be called "2 Beans and some Chicken." RR says: "I called this recipe '3 beans and some chicken' because I didn't want to put on any airs. If you're having people over for dinner and your guests inquire what you are serving, by all means posh it up and inform them that you are preparing 'Lemon-Scented Sauteed Poulet with Legume Ragout.' Snap!" I thought that was pretty funny.

Here are some things I changed or would do differently: I changed the fresh thyme to dried; I added that you could use bacon instead of pancetta (it's nowhere to be found in Marinette or Menominee); I used green beans instead of wax; and I used Great Northern beans instead of cannellini. I would reduce the heat to cook the chicken and lengthen the cooking time. The chicken gets a little too done on the outside, and if it's a thick breast, it will not get done in the middle in that length of time. It would not still be a 30-minute meal, but it wouldn't be that much more time involved that it's not worth lowering the heat. Other than that, I wouldn't change anything, and I really, really like this meal, especially the beans.


  1. I guess they're white kidney beans. I have never seen them in the store, so I've never tried them. I don't want to use kidney beans in place of them, because those are my least favorite beans. So I use the great northern.