Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Braised Tuscan Chicken with Fennel and White Beans

A while back I was contacted by a representative from Muir Glen offering me a chance to sample a case of their Limited Edition 2009 Reserve Tomatoes. While I am definitely familiar with Muir Glen’s products, as my favorite affordable organic canned tomatoes, I knew nothing about their Reserve. Click here to watch a video about it and learn more.

The case contains 4 varieties of tomatoes, two of which are the Reserve crop. The Reserve tomatoes were picked at the peak of the ripeness and packed that day! I was so excited to be offered this, but immediately began to worry about what to do with these special tomatoes. My worry was wasted because they also provided a recipe book with lots of great recipes. I quickly zeroed in on this recipe including fennel, because we LOVE fennel.

This is a meal worthy of entertaining. In fact, I planned to make it on a Monday evening when we invited our neighbor over for dinner, to help keep her company because her husband is often away working. As luck would have it I pulled my neck muscle that morning while working out before work. As the day progressed it got worse and worse, up to the point where I had to leave work early in tears of pain. I came home, took some pain medication, cried, and sat on the chaise lounge (the only place I could be comfortable). I didn’t want to cancel our dinner plans with my friend because we had already rescheduled a couple times, so The Boy offered to take over the reins in the kitchen. Usually if he is cooking I let him choose the recipe, or else I ask him to prepare something a bit more simple! I’m so proud of him for prepping and cooking this meal. And I now know he refuses to ever skin and cut up a whole chicken again in his life. He says the recipe wasn’t difficult at all, other than dealing with the chicken. His suggestion was to just buy the pieces already cut up.

This was a GREAT recipe. Everyone of us cleaned our plates completely. Fennel is such a great aromatic addition to this dish. It adds crunch and flavor. I love white beans, and they definitely add some healthy benefits like fiber; plus they pair so well with the tomatoes, fennel, and wine.

OH, and one more bit of info about the Muir Glen Limited Edition 2009 Reserve case. It is only $7, and through March 31st, Muir Glen will donate $2 to the Chef’s Collaborative, which is the leading nonprofit network of chefs that fosters a sustainable food system through advocacy, education, and collaboration with the broader food community. While I was fortunate enough to get my Reserve case for free this year, I know that next year I will DEFINITELY be purchasing one.


Braised Tuscan Chicken with Fennel and White Beans

from Muir Glen


3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cut up whole chicken (2 1/2 to 3 lb), skin removed
1/4 teaspoon coarse (kosher or sea) salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into bite sized strips
1 can (28oz) Muir Glen organic whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 can (15 to 19 oz) cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
Chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, if desired


In deep 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces to skillet; cook 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until chicken is light golden brown. Remove chicken from skillet.

Add onion, garlic, fennel and bell pepper to skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until vegetables are crisp tender. Add chicken, tomatoes, wine and rosemary; break up tomatoes. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, turning chicken once, until chicken is tender.

Stir in beans. Cook uncovered about 5 minutes longer or until sauce is slightly thickened and juice of chicken is clear when thickest piece is cut to bone (170 degrees for breasts; 180 degrees for thighs and drumsticks). Serve in shallow bowls; sprinkle with parsley.

*Serve with full bodies Sauvignon Blank like one from California, or an Italian red such as Barbera.

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