I was going to title this ‘An Idiots Guide to Cooking a Stew‘. But, I reckon the folk over at Dorling Kindersley would sue my idiot carcass all the way to illiteracy and back. They are the rightful owners to the Idiot’s Guides. So, I can’t use the title. Instead, I’m being a bit more general in my descriptor. I’m also being inclusive. Inclusive is good in this day and age. I don’t want to offend any particular minority grouping so I am making the statement that “Any Idiot Can Cook This Italian Chicken and Bean Stew”. Yes, that includes you.
Now, if you aren’t the sort to be offended too easily, or if you are, in fact, an idiot you have stuck with me thus far. This is a good thing as I will now reveal my easy Chicken and Bean Stew recipe.
As befits a guide of this sort, the ingredients list for my Italian Chicken and Bean Stew is not the most challenging.
- 16 chicken thighs and or legs
- 2 uncooked Chorizo sausages
- 3 onions
- 4 stalks of celery
- 3 carrots
- 600ml (or so) of good chicken stock
- 3 tins of Cannellini beans
- 2 bay leaves
- A couple of handfuls of fresh parsley
Side note on being Italian: I have done my homework on this one. Spanish and Portuguese might claim the sausage as their own. In fact they and the Italians all have sausages of similar style. They are all European and that’s Italian enough for me. In my book, the addition of the beans and the mirepoix of vegetables , known as the Holy Trinity, makes this as Italian as eating ice cream in the back seat of a rusting Fiat 128.
First slice the sausage into bite size chunks.
Place them in the bottom of a hot casserole dish (Dutch oven, but, I’m dealing with enough countries as it is).
When the sausages have given up their fat, scoop them out of the casserole and add the chicken pieces (in batches) and brown on all sides.
While the chicken is frying, slice the vegetables. Get them nice and small to make a mirepoix. That adds complexity to the dish.
Chopped vegetables take on a new dimension when they are called a mirepoix. Take out the chicken when browned. It will have given up a bit of fat too. Add the vegetables. Place the lid on the casserole and turn the heat down. Heat your oven to 190ºC. Simmer the vegetables on the stovetop. When they are soft, add back the chicken and the sausage.
Add the bay leaves and the stock.
Place the casserole, lid on, in the oven. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Take it out and spoon off the layer of fat that will have risen to the top. If you are truly a dork, don’t do this. The fat will clog your heart and you will die an early (idiotically early) death. Return the dish to the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes. Rinse the beans and add to the casserole.
Cut the parsley from the plant and chop it up nice and small. Add it to the casserole and stir it to combine. Return to the oven and leave it to cook, uncovered for 15 minutes. This will make the sauce as thick as yourself and will also intensify the flavours. Your flavours won’t intensify.
Take the casserole out of the oven and serve at the table. This will help to keep the diners happy. They will want seconds so don’t make it difficult.
If you have been dolt enough to read this far, I have some good news for you. Cooking this stew will not make you any less of a cretin. But, it will make you more popular. Think of yourself as a loveable idiot. Focus on the loveable, you can’t do anything about the idiot.