I wasn’t sure what to call this recipe when I rusted it up for the family earlier this week. As we tucked into our Mediterranean dish – and mopped up the tomato sauce with our homemade garlic bread – some recipe name suggestions were thrown about. We couldn’t decide if it was Spanish, Italian or something else, whether the beans made it a cassoulet, or whether the slow-cooked chicken created a casserole. Can we just call it a surprise stew? In the end, I decided to name it ‘Mediterranean chicken and bean stew’ as that seemed to sum up most of the flavours and ingredients well.The plan was to create a Mediterranean-inspired recipe and I think the lovely fresh ingredients in this dish create a rather ‘eat-al-fresco-under-the-olive-trees’ result. I’ve use chicken, tomatoes, peppers, olive oil, basil, olives, garlic and beans in this recipe so I was hoping that this combination of flavours would result in something that tasted rather Mediterranean, even if I didn’t quite know what that was when I started to cook! Thankfully, it turned out really well and after a second-helping (some of us even had thirds) we were all really rather stuffed, and very happy. A siesta seemed to be calling us…Ingredients (serves 4): 1 cup of beans (about 300 g – I used red kidney beans, borlotti beans, black-eyed beans, green beans, leftover baked-beans and sweetcorn but you could throw in any other kinds of beans you have in the store-cupboard and even chickpeas or a handful of lentils), 8 chicken thighs, 1 red onion, 300g fresh tomatoes or one tin of chopped tomatoes, 200g button mushrooms, 2 peppers, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 2 cloves of garlic or 1 teaspoon of garlic paste, handful of basil or a tablespoon of mixed dried herbs, olive oil, 1 litre chicken stock, salt and pepper.1. In an oven-proof saucepan gently heat the olive oil and brown off the chicken thighs. Throw in the chopped red onion and diced peppers and sauté for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
2. Stir in the whole button mushrooms and all the beans, then cook for a minute or two before adding the garlic, tomato paste and herbs.3. Allow to sizzle a little before adding the tomatoes and 1 litre chicken stock. You may need less stock if you’re using a saucy tin of tomatoes – just make sure all the ingredients are covered with sauce.
4. Pop a lid on the pan and put it in the oven to slow-cook at 150 degrees for around 1 and a half – two hours. Keep checking the chicken and the dish is ready when the chicken meat is falling off the bone.
Serve with a side dish of olives and a homemade mini-garlic bread to soak up all those tasty tomato juices. What do you think of my Mediterranean recipe? I’m entering it into the #MeddySteadyCook competition to win a cruise with Bolsover so I certainly hope that it’s well received by the judges. And I hope you that you enjoy making it at home too. It’s a great dish for Spring days when you want a fresh and healthy meal but still need something warm in your tummy when there’s a chill in the air. Let me know if you make this tasty Mediterranean treat yourself and please tell me what other ingredients you can think of to add to it. One member of the family suggested adding chilli and making it into a Mexican dish, so you can always consider that as an option if you have a go at making it yourself. Leave me a comment below or tweet me @Cassiefairy to share your recipe ideas.