Italian Chicken & Bean Casserole

Italian Chicken & Bean Casserole

This one-pot meal is quick, easy and very tasty! My favourite way to serve it is with squashed roasted potatoes and steamed vegetables. However, I’ve also served it with mash potato and small pasta shapes too. The other great thing about this meal is that it freezes and defrosts really well.

This dish is my adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe called Pollo Alla Cacciatora, from her cookbook Nigella Express. The original recipe calls for a can of chopped tomatoes, but I prefer the thickness and richness that passata gives. I also prefer to use fresh garlic over garlic oil, as the oil doesn’t sit very well with me! The chicken stock and increased pancetta also adds richness and flavour, with the cannellini beans making this dish especially hearty.

1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
200g (7.0 ounces) diced gluten free pancetta
8 spring onions, sliced 3mm in thickness
4 teaspoons (20ml) finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons (10ml) finely chopped rosemary
1 kg (2:3.3 ounces) chicken thighs, cut into approximately 2cm cubes
1 teaspoon (5ml) celery salt
250ml (1 cup) dry white wine
700g jar passata
125ml (½ cup) chicken stock
2 medium sized dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon (5ml) sugar
X2 400g tins cannellini beans
Cracked black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large heavy based pot over a medium heat. Then fry the pancetta, spring onions, garlic and rosemary for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Next, add the diced chicken and cook until it looses its pinkness, before sprinkling over  and stirring through the celery salt.

Pour in the white wine and cook until bubbling, before adding the passata, chicken stock, bay leaves and sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Rinse and drain the cannellini beans, then stir through the casserole, adding the cracked black pepper to taste. Now continue to simmer with the lid slightly cracked, for about another 10 minutes.

I like to serve this meal atop the squashed roasted potatoes, with steamed vegetables on the side. However, you can serve it with mashed potatoes or small pasta shapes, depending on your own personal tastes.

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