Crispy sage, tender chicken, salty pancetta and creamy white beans come together to make a delectable meal and the beans are the star of the show. A little while ago I cooked a batch of dried cannellini beans for a side dish and made sure to make extra beans for this recipe. You could certainly make this with canned beans, which I’ve done on occasion and it’s still delicious but it tastes so much better with soaked and cooked dried beans. If you have the time, going through the process of making your own beans will definitely pay off but either way the beans add a wonderful creaminess to the sauce and produce a meal that’s comforting, simple and lip smacking delicious.
Ingredients – Serves 4 Adapted from Delicious Magazine
¼ cup olive oil
150g pancetta or speck, chopped into chunky dice
1 large onion, diced
6-8 chicken thighs on the bone with the skin on
1 tablespoon flour
200ml white wine
300ml chicken stock, heated
1½ cups cooked cannellini beans or 400g canned beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons cream
Small bunch of sage leaves
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a casserole or deep frypan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 5-6 minutes until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl. Add the onion and cook stirring for 5 minutes until soft, then set aside. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and increase the heat to medium high. Brown the chicken in batches until golden brown. Return all the chicken thighs to the pan and add the onion, pancetta and wine to the pan and simmer for 6 minutes. Pour in the hot stock, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer over medium low heat for 30 minutes.
Add the cannellini beans and for a further 15-20 minutes until the chicken is very tender and sauce has reduced slightly, then stir in the cream. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a small pan over medium heat. Fry the sage leaves for 2 minutes until crisp, then drain on paper towel. When ready to serve divide the chicken and bean mixture among plates, then top with a few crispy sage leaves.