Food

Chickeny White Beans and Romaine

Chickeny White Beans and Romaine

When the new cookbook Dynamite Chicken came across my desk, I couldn’t believe my luck…

Here was a book edited by a favorite website (Food52), written by a favorite writer (Tyler Kord), and dedicated to everyone’s favorite, if oft-maligned dinner anchor (chicken). Kord, the wonderfully weird food writer, and chef from New York’s celebrated lunch spot No. 7 is known for oddball combinations (Broccoli subs with pickled lychees? Chocolate-milk-braised chicken thighs?) and is just the guy to bust us all out of our dreaded breaded chicken cutlet rut. The sixty recipes in this book are organized by chapters like “Chicken to Eat When You Are Sad” and “Party Chicken to Impress Guests & Celebrities” and “Winner, Winner, Weeknight Chicken Dinners.”

Here’s what Kord has to say about a dish that fits into all three:

“This is an adaptation of escarole and white beans, a dish that is so perfect it needn’t be improved upon. And I wouldn’t presume to say that I did here — this is just different! Reduce chicken stock with bean broth to create a sticky, awesome glaze; braise chicken legs in the broth before it reduces to get it super fortified; and then toss in some shredded romaine lettuce right at the end because it won’t need a lot of time in the pan like escarole would. The romaine brings some bright-colored, slightly crunchy contrast to an otherwise all-braised dish. Serve this with crusty bread to sop up the broth, and I challenge you to be sad.”

Chickeny White Beans & Wilted Romaine
Serves 4

2 tsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks), 1 1⁄2 pounds
1 head garlic, cloves smashed
2 cups chicken stock
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, no salt added, drained and with canning liquid reserved (or 1 1⁄2 cups cooked cannellini beans, plus 1⁄3 cup reserved bean cooking liquid)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 head romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1 ounce Parmesan, grated
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges, for serving

In a large sauté pan with high sides, heat the oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the chicken legs, skin-side down. Cook until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes, flip, and cook until the other side is well browned, another 6 to 8 minutes. Turn the heat to low and add the garlic, stirring and cooking until browned, 6 to 8 minutes more. Add the stock, bean liquid, and salt and increase the heat to high. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook until the chicken legs are super tender and the liquid has reduced by half, which can take anywhere from 40 to 55 minutes depending on how big your chicken pieces are.

Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes, or until they look nicely glazed. Increase the heat to medium and add the lettuce. Stir until the lettuce is wilted and the chicken is hot again. To serve, divide the chicken legs into two. Then ladle the stew into bowls, top with a piece of chicken along with some Parmesan and a little drizzle of oil, and serve with lemon wedges.

Food52 Dynamite Chicken

P.S. Chicken parm meatballs and comforting chicken tortellini soup.

(Photo by James Ransom. Recipe reprinted with permission from Food52 Dynamite Chicken: 60 Never-Boring Recipes for Your Favorite Bird by Tyler Kord, 2019. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.)

  1. This was SO good. Thank you for sharing such a simple, delicious, soul-warming recipe! The only thing is I would swap spinach for romaine – the wilted romained didn’t reheat well, so something to keep in mind if you’re planning on having leftovers.

  2. Sharon in Scotland says...

    Diana Henry’s “A Bird in the hand” is a really enjoyable and accessible chicken-only cook book.

  3. Joanna Goddard says...

    la, good question! sometimes we push a post at a certain time, but it takes a few minutes to populate around the web, on feeds, etc. that may have happened here!

  4. Virginia says...

    I always stop to read food posts by Jenny Rosenstrach, always. These posts are free gold, basically. I have to admit that food posts weren’t always my go-to posts on COJ, but now they sure are. If you want to live well, treat yourself to the everyday pleasure of a well-made meal, share this gift with friends and family, just do what she says, basically. Also, as a parent and a school librarian, I’d love to hear more from her about raising kids who love books, and how to connect with teenage readers.

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      This comment made my day, Virigina. Thank you .Your reading idea is a great one — stay tuned for more on that one.

  5. Diana says...

    What can I substitute for beans? Am I the only one who hates beans??? :(

    • Jennifer says...

      Lentils or chickpeas perhaps ? They are also a good source of protein like the beans are. Worth a try IMO. (But beans, done right, are amazing – try them anyway)

    • perla says...

      i would say chickpeas !

    • Elena says...

      @Diana, Chickpeas take longer to cook and will could throw things off. I accidentally subbed chick peas for my fav soup recipe which took white beans… it took forever to cook and had to keep adding stock because the chickpeas were soaking it up. It tasted great, but dinner was late and thank goodness I had extra stock.
      Go with lentils!

  6. Sasha L says...

    A really good sub for the meat in any dish like this is dumplings. Anything from soup to stew to slightly soupy skillet dishes is so good with some dumplings piled on top, cover and cook. They soak up the soup or sauce and make a veggie dish so much heartier.

  7. Cheryl says...

    We do a similar (faster!) version of this dish, but use Italian-style chicken sausage instead of chicken legs, and either spinach or kale instead of romaine. Saute the sliced sausage in olive oil (until the fat is rendered and it begins to crisp on the edges), then add a bag of fresh greens (spinach and/or kale wilt down to what looks like a fraction of the original), then add drained Cannellini beans and finish by tossing everything together with lemon and grated parmesan. One of my favorite easy dinners.

  8. Kara says...

    So obsessed with the very clear directions about heat levels (and time estimates!) throughout this recipe. Take note, recipe writers!!

  9. Justine says...

    Definitely need to get this cookbook!

  10. Lara says...

    I recently tried a recipe of chickpeas and braised escarole that turned out to be meh .i am not sure i would like this one . I have to check the cookbook

    • Maggie says...

      Ohhh I love this one! Made it last year and it was a hit. Good reminder to cook it again!

    • Sasha L says...

      That sounds amazing! Thank you!! Chickens are our friends ♥️

  11. Denise says...

    My Mom makes a yummy cannellini bean, chicken, rosemary dish very similar to this. I’m not a huge fan of wilted greens but the base recipe sounds delicious and easily adaptable to personal tastes. Also, a whole book on chicken dishes is RIGHT up my alley.

    • Erin says...

      You could use sturdier greens (kale or chard) if you don’t want something quite so wilted. Or just use different veggies — I’ve made a braised chicken dish similar to this with carrots and mushrooms thrown in at the beginning of the braising period. It’s really yummy.

  12. Tina says...

    This looks so great. I’m an unsure about hot lettuce so I may sub spinach for the romaine but I can’t wait to try this dish.

    • Anna says...

      Hahaha “unsure about hot lettuce” is such a hilarious articulation of my exact reaction to the romaine in this recipe!

    • bethany says...

      Lol, same. Hot lettuce is something I cannot abide. Spinach or kale seem like a good fit here.

    • Sasha L says...

      My husband makes the best romaine salad: you cut a big head of romaine down the middle, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then grill it!!! It’s warm, but still crisp, so delicious. We serve with vegetarian Caesar dressing and salted sunflower seeds and sourdough croutons.

    • Laura says...

      Another hot lettuce skeptic here. :-)

    • Avi says...

      oh Gosh i was waiting for a reader comment to address this! I thought I was the only one with the giant pink elephant in the room!!

    • Owl says...

      Me… I’ll totally try the “hot lettuce”! Lol! Why not? What if I like… or even love it! Just a thought!

    • Erin says...

      The secret to extra-delicious French pea soup — potage St. Germain — is hot lettuce. You put a bunch of lettuce in the pot with the peas and then puree everything, so it doesn’t look like lettuce, it’s just really pretty and green and tastes, mysteriously, a tiny bit grassy. It’s soooooo yummy.

  13. Hannah says...

    Yum!

    I’ve been using Tony Rosenfeld’s 150 Things to Make with Roast Chicken for almost a decade, and it’s a fantastic source of both roasting chicken with various flavors and using roast chicken in a variety of dishes. Lately, though, I’ve been looking for other cooking techniques and flavors to add to my repertoire. I love a good white bean and escarole soup and am looking forward to trying it with lettuce instead!