Chicken & bean stew

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October 7, 2013 by dgarnett2013

Chicken & bean stew: Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries (vol 1)


  • 150g dried cannellini beans
  • A large chicken, jointed
  • 50ml olive oil, plus more for frying
  • 50ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4 plump cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 or 4 bay leaves
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons dried herbes de Provence
  • The pared rind of a small orange
  • 3 medium leeks, thickly slices
  • Mash, to serve


Soak the beans in cold water for 3 or 4 hours or overnight. Bring them to the boil in unsalted water and boil them for 40 mins – 1 hour.

Combine the chicken, half the balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons olive oil and garlic cloves in a large mixing bowl or dish.  Scatter over the herbs, the strips of pared orange peel and season with salt and pepper.  Cover, and let marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 200c.  Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan (don’t use the oil from the marinade — the liquid will cause it to spit!)  Add the chicken pieces, shaking or patting away the marinade with a paper towel, and fry them until they are golden on each side.

Remove the chicken to a casserole that has a lid. (If you don’t have one, use a baking dish and cover it with aluminium foil.)  Add the beans into the pot with the chicken.
Fry the leaks over low heat in the same oil until soft.  Do not allow them to brown — leeks can become bitter when browned.

Add the garlic from the marinade, let it soften, then add the rest of the marinade (including the orange peel) to the leeks and garlic.

Add in the rest of the balsamic vinegar and about 1 litre of water.  Bring this all to a boil, season with salt and pour over the chicken in the casserole dish.

Cover the dish and put it in the oven for 2 hours.  Check half way through cooking that the chicken is still submerged, and adjust liquid level with water accordingly.

Check the seasoning, it may need more salt, more black pepper, or more balsamic vinegar.  Add these slowly to taste, careful not to over-season, but being conscious that the seasoning will enhance all of the flavours as they meld together.
Serve the stew with mashed potatoes, allowing the juices to form pools in the mash.

Made with a chicken bought from Bermondsey Spa Market.


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