Thursday afternoon, I put a few things in the crock pot so dinner would be easy. I had some white beans left over from the pork rib dish from a while back, and I bought some chicken thighs (which, although higher in fat, I prefer for braising and soups) that day at the grocery store. I also had quite a few grape tomatoes left over from last week’s farmer’s market, just ripened on the countertop. After glancing at a few recipes for flavor profile ideas, here’s what I ended up with:
Chicken and White Bean Winter Soup
- 1 c. dry white beans (I used Great Northern, but cannellini would also be great)
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 10 – 15 grape tomatoes, halved (may use cherry tomatoes or diced larger variety)
- 6 c. chicken broth
- 1 c. dry white wine (optional, reduce 1 c. of broth if used)
- 3 – 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1/2 c. minced onion (I used 1/4 c. dried)
- 1/2 tsp. thyme (dried)
- 1/2 tsp. rosemary (dried and crushed)
- 1 Tbs. Cavender’s seasoning
Soak beans in cold water overnight and rinse in colander. (Quick-soak option: Place dry beans in a small pot and cover with cold water, with the water one inch over the top of the beans. Bring to boil on the stovetop and boil for three minutes. Cover tightly and turn off the heat, and leave to soak for one hour. Rinse with clean water in colander.)
Pour olive oil into bottom of crock pot and place soaked beans on top. Cover with broth and white wine, if you’re using it. Add bay leaves to the broth.
If you want to add a bit of flavor, you can salt and pepper the chicken thighs and quickly sear over high heat in a skillet with oil. (I was in a hurry and didn’t; just S&P’d the raw chix…still yummy!) Place the chicken on top of the beans in the crock pot. Place the celery, tomatoes, herbs, Cavender’s, and a little more kosher salt and freshly ground pepper on top.
Since I was starting later in the day, I put it on high (total of 4 hours or so), but you could surely put it on low for 8 hours-ish. When the beans are completely soft and creamy, and the chicken is falling apart, it’s ready.
At this point, mash a few of the beans and tomatoes against the side of the pot. Continue doing this until you’ve reached your desired level of creamy goodness. Then shred the chicken pieces up with a fork or spoon; they should happily fall apart at your bidding.
Taste, reseason as necessary, enjoy.
Wonderful with a crusty loaf of bread. Even better the next day. Noms!