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A hearty, one-pan chicken thigh recipe: Tender braised boneless chicken, white beans and Tuscan kale with sourdough and chunky tomato sauce.
I think you’re really going to love this recipe. What we have here is Tuscan Chicken Ribollita, a hearty, homey stew with Italian style .
The dish stars tender chicken thighs braised in a rich tomato sauce, along with white beans, kale and chunks of toasted sourdough croutons.
When you want something that has that cooked-all-day flavor but is actually ready in about 35 minutes, make this!
Plus, I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad to a find a new way to cook boneless, skinless chicken thighs (not that we’re bored or anything).
One-pot meals don’t get much better than this. Because I aim to keep my recipes all about simplicity, this riff on a traditional Italian comfort food relies on pantry ingredients.
Think canned beans and your favorite prepared pasta sauce paired with a couple fresh ingredients from the grocery store. And, it’s ready to eat in less than an hour — win, win 🙂
What is ribollita?
Ribollita is a dish of pure Italian comfort food.
Traditionally served as a thick vegetable bean soup in Tuscany, ribollita is a classic example of rustic farmhouse cooking, where nothing is wasted.
The classic base ingredients of this humble dish are beans, potatoes, day-old bread, assorted vegetables and cabbage or kale, usually the dark green cavolo nero.
Italian mamas would make ribollita (which means “reboiled” in Italian) on Friday fast days, then reheat it for meals the next day, and the next.
Doesn’t that sound so much better than saying “We’re having leftovers for dinner?”
Because it’s what I do, I improvised on the old-school recipe by using boneless skinless chicken thighs and my own leftover homemade marinara sauce as the base of the dish.
Although cannellini beans from a can are perfect here, if you happen to have cooked white beans on hand, go ahead and use them (you need about 2 cups cooked beans).
Side note: I had some cooked gigande beans when I took the photos for the recipe. Oh, man they are definitely gigantic in size, with a super-deliciously creamy texture and sweet, earthy flavor.
To finish for serving, sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese and toss the toasted bread cubes right in the pan — they’ll soak up the sauce and add another layer of texture.
One dish and done!
Tuscan Chicken with White Beans and Kale
- 2 pounds (900 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- ½ (75 g) red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or finely chopped
- 3 cups (750 ml) homemade marinara or 1 24-ounce jar prepared sauce
- 1 15-ounce can (425 g) cannellini beans, drained
- 1 tablespoon (30 g) chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 cups (265 g) Tuscan lacinato or curly kale, torn into pieces
- 2 thick slices crusty sourdough bread, toasted
- ¼ cup (25 g) freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Season evenly on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet (12-inches) and place over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken and cook without disturbing 6-8 minutes, or until it takes on a golden-brown color.
- Flip the chicken over and add the onion and garlic to the pan, stirring to coat with the pan juices. Cook 2 or 3 minutes, until the onion softens.
- Add the sauce, beans, rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook 10 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and continue to simmer 10 more minutes to thicken the sauce.
- Drizzle the bread with olive oil and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Remove the chicken from the heat and stir in the kale until it wilts. Serve in shallow bowls topped with some of the bread and sprinkled with the cheese.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Use your favorite prepared pasta sauce (chunky style for a thicker sauce) or make a batch of my easy homemade marinara sauce.
- To prepare in a slow cooker: Follow steps 1-3 to sear the chicken, either on the stovetop or in your slow cooker insert if it’s made for that. Add in the onion and garlic for the last 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker with tomato sauce, beans and rosemary. Add another can of cannellini beans for a heartier texture, if you like. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high 4 hours. Stir in the kale and cheese and serve with the bread on top.