Chicken Stew with White Beans and Sausage

Chicken Stew with White Beans and SausageSoup’s On!
The fact that the rest of the country is enduring record-breaking cold temperatures has inspired me to ramp up the soup making. Well, this, and the fact that it is the New Year and I can’t just go on eating the way I did through the holidays. I have found that soup is a satisfying way to fill you up with a lot of veggies without feeling like you haven’t eaten anything.

I have a number of go-to soups that I make all the time. This Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup one is a staple as is my Spanish Chickpea Stew with Kale and Salt Pork from our cookbook club. Chicken Noodle Soup with Dill is a no-brainer this time of year—as it seems everyone is catching a cold. and of course, it’s a favorite with the kids.

This is also the time of year where I find myself using dried beans in the slow cooker during the week, or filling the house with wonderful aromas on the weekend. Gam’s Navy Bean Soup Soup is perfect for cold winter evenings. But, a little spice can be welcome too in our Spicy Chicken and Rice Flu Chaser Soup or Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup.

If you are one of those who is part of the Instant Pot craze (or maybe you got one as a gift for Christmas) they are great for producing tasty, authentic-tasting Pho in half the time. Check out this article on Epicurious.

With the rain moving in this week (Finally!), it’s the perfect time to stock your freezer with healthy and hearty soups for the new year. For me, I am breaking out the crockpot this weekend and making this oldie but goodie…Chicken Stew with White Beans and Sausage .

Chicken Stew with White Beans and Sausage
Recipe adapted from of Slow Cooker Revolution
From America’s Test Kitchen
Serves 6 to 8

This Chicken Stew with White Beans and Sausage is inspired by a classic Tuscan white bean stew—we added sausage. Browing the chicken, sausage, and aromatics makes for a richer, deeper flavor. The abundance of spinach wilts down substantially. 

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound Italian sausage links, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 onions, minced
1 fennel bulb (about 12 ounces), tops discarded, halved, cored, and sliced thin
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock, plus extra as needed (we like Kitchen Basics)
2 bay leaves
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups)
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Prepare the chicken
Dry the chicken with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the chicken lightly on both sides (about  8 minutes) Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Repeat with more 1 tablespoon of oil and the remaining chicken.

Prepare the sausage and vegetables
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat until it is just smoking. Brown the sausage well (about 3 minutes), and transfer it to the bowl with the chicken. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat that remains in the pan, add the onions, fennel, garlic, tomato paste, thyme, and red pepper flakes, and cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are softened and lightly browned (about 8 to 10 minutes).

Make the sauce
Carefully stir flour into the pot, and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in wine, scraping up any browned bits. Whisk in 1 cup stock, smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker. Stir remaining 3 cups broth and bay leaves into slow cooker.

Cook the chicken
Nestle the browned chicken and sausage with any juices into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until chicken is tender (about 4 to 6 hours).

Make the stew
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, and let it cool slightly, then shred the chicken into bite-size pieces (see page 21). Let the stew settle for 5 minutes, then remove any fat from the surface using a large spoon. Discard the bay leaves.

Stir in the beans and spinach, cover, and cook on high until heated through (about 10 minutes). Stir in shredded chicken and let sit until heated through (about 5 minutes). Adjust the consistency of the stew with hot broth if needed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with Parmesan on the side.

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