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Chicken and White Bean Spezzatino with Swiss Chard and Polenta


Main Dishes


Recipe from Susan Nye's Around the Table




Spezzatino is a delicious and hearty stew, Italian comfort food at its best. I make it with inexpensive chicken thighs and small white beans.

Number of Servings

Serves 4


3/4 c. dried small white or cannellini beans or 3 (15-oz.) cans
8 oz. Italian sausage (hot or sweet), casings removed
4 chicken thighs
Olive oil
1 med. onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried Italian herbs
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
3-4 c. chicken stock
1 bay leaf

Preparation - Directions

Cook the beans according to package directions, drain and rinse.

Heat a heavy 5 or 6 quart saucepan over medium-high heat; add the sausage to the pan and brown, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Remove the sausage from the pan and drain on paper towels and set aside.

Add a little olive oil to the pan. Add the carrots, celery, onion and minced garlic; season with salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and herbs. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Return the sausage to the pot. Stir in the white wine, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock and bay leaf. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered while you prep the chicken.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, place them in the skillet skin side down and brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the thighs to the pot and submerge the chicken in the sauce. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

While the chicken is simmering, prepare the Swiss chard and polenta.

Sautéed Swiss Chard
Olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced 
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 red onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T. red wine vinegar

Remove the stems from the Swiss chard. Trim the ends; wash and chop the stems. Wash, dry and roughly chop the leaves.

Add a little olive oil to a large sauté pan or wok. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and heat the oil on low. When the garlic starts to sizzle, raise the heat to medium and add the red onion and chard stems and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

Raise the heat to high and add the chard leaves, season with salt and pepper and toss.  Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to add the leaves a few handfuls at a time; as the chard cooks down, add more. Sauté until the chard has wilted. Add the vinegar, toss to combine.

Cheesy Polenta
1 c. quick cook polenta
1 T. butter
2 oz. grated parmesan cheese

Cook the polenta according to package directions. Add the butter and parmesan cheese and stir until they have melted and are fully incorporated into the polenta.

Serve the chicken with a spoonful of beans and sauce, sautéed Swiss chard and polenta.
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