It started out as a vegetarian dish. I was dicing vegetables to make a stir fry for Sam but she wasn’t in the mood for a stir fry so I took a can of baked beans in tomato sauce from the kitchen shelf and told her I’d make a bean stew instead. And I did.
I recut the diced vegetables into thin strips. I sautéed them in butter, poured in the baked beans in tomato sauce and added seasonings. And I had a vegetarian dish for Sam.
Then I realized that the bean stew was too much for one person. I ladled a portion into a bowl for Sam and, into the remaining bean stew in the pot, I stirred in browned cubes of chicken breast meat. And, presto! I had a second dish for the omnivores in the family.
How the chicken breast meat found its way into the bean stew is part of a more complicated story. Because we hadn’t been buying meat in bulk, like we usually do, all I had was a whole chicken so I wanted to stretch it by cooking three different dishes. The thighs, legs and wings became the braised balsamic chicken dish. The back and neck, I simmered to make broth intending to make sopas later. The breast, I deboned and added to the bean stew.
The cooking procedure given below is exactly how I made the dish because adding the chicken was an afterthought. The ideal procedure would be to start by cooking the chicken and, while it cooks, make the bean stew. That way, the chicken and bean stew will cook at about the same time.
Chicken and Beans Stew
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 1 large bell pepper julienned
- 2 to 3 tomatoes cut into wedges
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can baked beans in tomato sauce
- 1 chicken breast deboned
Make the bean stew.
Heat 2 tbsps. of butter. Saute the garlic, onion, bell pepper and tomatoes with a little salt and pepper.
Pour in the baked beans in tomato sauce. Simmer for about five minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed. Turn off the heat and keep hot.
While the bean stew simmers, cut the chicken breast meat into one-inch cubes. Toss with salt and pepper.
Melt the remaining 2 tbsps. of butter in a small frying pan. Pan fry the chicken until lightly browned and cooked through.
Stir the chicken into the bean stew. Serve hot.