Trying to figure out what to name the dishes I dream up is not always easy. Many times the right recipe title does just pops up. Because, in my book, t should say what it is. Not be misleading or uninformative. (If you say, “Mother Morgan’s Favorite Dinner,” what does that mean? Steak and Garlic Green Beans on Mushroom Rice, however, says exactly what it is.) Other times, I’m lost. Nothing sounds right. I mull. I ponder. Here’s an example:
This is a meal I could eat every week or perhaps more often, though I forget to fix it. It’s fish taco fish (Tilapia, in this case) with grilled vegetables and greens, dressed with Ranch dressing mixed with salsa. It’s still called “Fish Taco Salad.” (Name it, please?)
While shopping the other day, I bought lovely organic chicken legs on sale for .60 per. I grabbed a couple of packs of them, not knowing what I’d do with all that chicken and certainly with no idea of a name for the recipe. If I did nothing but oven-roast them and make a big salad, we’d have dinner for a while. I could freeze a few maybe. Or they could go in a soup even. But somehow, as our Colorado temps began to go down, I saw them on top of some homey white beans and rosemary– rustic style with a glass of red wine to wash it all down. In fact, I had even written the recipe and THEN thought: bacon. Bacon and beans. Old school stuff just might work here. The bacon, by the way, is totally skippable.
So it ended up a fast, yet still nameless, chicken dish with tons of fragrant vegetables plus a little salty bacon that nearly cooked itself all in one pan. For serving, top the beans and vegetables with the by-then done chicken and pour a little glass of Chianti or maybe a red Rhone if you’d like something tamer. Don’t have all the vegetables? Be of good cheer, this dish will come together anyway. God is good. The onions or maybe the garlic might be the most necessary. I forgot the carrots myself. If you don’t usually cook with fennel, try it this time. Be brave, my friend.
Dave says, “Is this French?” Certainly leans that way as Provençal bean dishes are famous and lovely, healthy inexpensive meals (Think cassoulet, though it can end up a bit pricey, eh?) and I’m partial to French any day. But it might be a wee bit Italian, right? There are all those Tuscan white bean dishes that include tomatoes. All in all, it’s pretty American since it came out of my head in a Colorado kitchen, albeit using a lot of short cuts. I couldn’t decide what to name it, but by then my mouth was full and so you got…
PARMESAN CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS WITH ROSEMARY WHITE BEANS or maybe you’ll just call this “Chicken and Beans”
You can skip the bacon and just sauté the chicken thighs in canola oil if that makes more sense for you. Maybe you have no bacon tonight. This recipe halves easily and could, then, perhaps be made all in one pan–pushing the chicken to one side while you cooked the vegetables, perhaps with a cover to insure the drumsticks are cooked through.
- Canola oil
- 2 pieces of bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Aleppo pepper (a tish milder, but oh-so-good Middle Eastern pepper) or a bit less if using regular crushed red pepper
- 8 chicken legs
- 1/2 cup each: chopped onion, carrot, fennel bulb, and celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (1 tablespoon, crumbled in your hand, if using dried)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine–can sub water
- 2 15-ounce cans Cannellini (white kidney) or white northern beans, rinsed and drained or 3 cups freshly-cooked white northern beans
- 1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
- 1/2 lemon
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 ounce or 1/4 cup grated)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place rack at center.
Heat large, deep sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil. Cook bacon (if using) stirring often, until nearly crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve. Pat chicken dry; season with salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper. Add another tablespoon or two of oil to the pan and heat through.
Place chicken in hot oiled pan and cook until very brown and crispy on one side; turn and repeat with the other side. Remove drumsticks to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or a lightly greased 3-quart Pyrex casserole dish and place in preheated oven to finish cooking for another 15 minutes or more or until juices run clear when pierced and instant thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
While chicken is roasting in the oven, sauté onion, carrot, fennel, and celery in sauté pan with rosemary for 10 minutes over medium high heat, stirring often, or until softening. Stir in garlic; cook one minute. Pour in wine and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes, scraping up any browned bits until wine is reduced. Add drained beans and can of tomatoes, stir well, season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of Aleppo or crushed red pepper. Stir the reserved cooked chopped bacon back into the beans. Cook another couple of minutes to heat through and marry flavors, stirring regularly. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and keep warm, if necessary, until chicken is done. (If beans dry out while you’re waiting, stir in a couple of tablespoons of water and warm through.)
To serve, divide beans and vegetables between 4 shallow bowls and top with two chicken legs each. Garnish with parsley, if using, a squeeze of lemon, and a spoonful of grated cheese. Serve hot or warm.
Printable recipe: chicken-parmesan-chicken-drumsticks-with-rosemary-white-beans
If you liked this, you might like my
Stay warm as the weather cools, but enjoy the fall singing a new song, as I do when I look at our new living room (if you haven’t seen it yet)–still in process as our basement is packed away and new floors are going in down there now. I’m a glutton for punishment, I know. Dave refinished, painted, and installed the built-in shelves (not complete here) that will hold my cookbooks. Before the wall was removed and wood floors installed, the space where the shelves are going was my cramped dark, freezing study for 12 years. Let there be light! There’s a new tightly constructed sliding door, too.
(Couches are gray corduroy Norwalk I bought nearly new from a local consignment store. Pillows from thrift stores, Costco, and Pottery Barn.)