Kale is a perfect fall green, beautifully hearty and readily available. A descendant of wild cabbage from Asia, the central leaves of kale do not form the head common to modern cabbages. Believed to have been brought to Europe around 600 BCE by the Celts, kale was subsequently brought to the United States by English settlers during the 17th century. The kidney beans I used for this recipe were grown by my dear friends in Maine on Six River Farm. Socca, brown rice fritters or creamy polenta make perfect grain sides for braised chicken.
I used lacinato or dinosaur kale for this dish, but any variety of kale may be used. Kidney beans add a nice rich color to the dish, but other types of bean such as white or pinto would work as well.
1 lb chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
2 strips bacon, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
½ red pepper, trimmed and diced
1 large carrot, trimmed and cut into ¼ inch cubes
1 bunch kale, trimmed and thinly sliced widthwise
2 c cooked kidney beans
½ white wine
1 c chicken stock
¼ c parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium skillet, add onions and cook, stirring often until caramelized to a deep golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Once caramelized remove from heat and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the bacon, stirring often until barely done. Add the chicken to the bacon and brown both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Bring the heat up to medium, add the white wine, garlic and carrot, stir to combine and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wine has been reduced to about half.
3. Next, add the red pepper, kidney beans, caramelized onions and chicken stock. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low, add the kale, stir to combine, cover and allow the kale to cook for 4-5 minutes. Once kale is tender remove from heat.
4. Gently stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.