Tuesday, August 9, 2011

MAIN - Braised Chicken with Mint Pesto

a few cans white beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small white onion, diced
2 lemons
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2/3 cup finely chopped dill fronds

Heat the oven to 350°F. In a 4-quart (or larger) Dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are tender and the onion is nearly translucent. Add the drained beans and stir to coat the beans with the garlic, onion, and oil. Turn off the heat.

Peel one of the lemons. Add all of this shaved lemon peel to the beans and stir. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the beans.

Pat the chicken dry, and lightly salt and pepper it. Lay it on top of the beans in the Dutch oven. Add water until it covers the beans and comes up to just below the chicken. Lay the thyme sprigs on top. Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a simmer. Cover the pot and put it in the oven.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are very tender and creamy.

Remove the lid from the pot, and take out the chicken and put it to the side on a plate. Remove the thyme stalks. Zest and juice the second lemon, and stir the zest and juice, along with the chopped dill fronds, into the beans. Shred or chop the chicken and place it back on top of the beans. Top with the mint pesto (recipe follows) and serve.

To serve, scoop up a spoon of beans, and top with chicken. Make sure each serving has a dollop of pesto as well.

Mint Pesto
makes 2/3 cup

4 packed cups mint leaves
1/3 cup blanched almonds
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more if necessary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blend all the ingredients in a small food processor or chopper until finely chopped. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator with plastic wrap completely covering and touching the surface of the pesto to prevent oxidization.