Italian Chicken and Bean Stew

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Hearty, delicious, rich chicken and white bean stew with kale, herbs, and crushed tomatoes for a robust and comforting dinner that is budget friendly and tastes fresh but relies on pantry classics.

picture of chicken thigh in tomato stew with white beans, kale, herbs, and onions in a white bowl
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picture of chicken thigh in tomato stew with white beans, kale, herbs, and onions in a white bowl on a table with a towel and fork and spoon next to it

Easy hearty Italian Chicken and Bean Stew

This dinner is simple to make, hearty, and feeds a crowd – it’s a family-pleasing hit that you’ll want to make again and again!

During the winter it can be difficult to incorporate healthy ingredients like chicken and kale into a family-friendly meal – and in summer, you can use fresh spinach in place of kale.

This Italian Chicken and Bean Stew is packed full of flavor, and delicious and healthy ingredients, and is sure to become a family favorite in no time. 

This recipe can be adaptable – use what you have on hand, swap out ingredients you don’t – this rustic dish is meant to make the most of ingredients you’re using up, or making stretch in the most delicious way.

We hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

picture of six chicken thighs in tomato stew with white beans, kale, herbs, and onions in a pan on a table

How to make Italian Chicken and Bean Stew

To make this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Chicken Thighs – Chicken thighs are rich in flavor, and bring a deep, meaty flavor to this stew. Chicken thighs have a high amount of inter-muscular fat and collagen from the bone that brings deep umami flavors when cooked slowly in a stew. You can use bone-in, skin-on, boneless, skinless – its up to you. Brown your chicken thighs well before cooking and adjust cook time of your stew to be sure your chicken is fully cooked (bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs will take longer to cook.)
  • Kale  – Kale is a type of wild cabbage, that grows into strong wide, and curly leaves. Like broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, kale contains a number of minerals and compounds that are very healthy! You can swap kale out for spinach in this dish, but add the spinach at the end, since it is a softer green.
  • Sea Salt and Black pepper– Salt and pepper are the original culinary duo. Salt enhances and brings out many flavors, and the mild spice from black pepper helps to stimulate the taste buds. 
  • Olive Oil  – Olive oil is a very traditional fat used in Mediterranean and Italian cooking. It has a rich, nutty flavor that compliments the seasonings used in this stew. It does have a relatively low smoke point, so it’s important to keep an eye on your level of heat. 
  • Onion  – Onions are the most commonly cultivated and used member of the allium family, and have a place in virtually every cuisine on earth. They are sweet when caramelized, pack a bit of bite, and add complexity to dishes.
  • Garlic  – Garlic is the culinary best friend of onions and an ingredient in most savory Italian dishes! Its earthy, pungeant, and adds an addictive umami-friendly flavor to many dishes.
  • Shallot – Shallots are a cousin of garlic and a botanical varietal of the onion, bred over the centuries for a sweeter and richer flavor than the onion. When used together with onions, they provide a depth of flavor that compliments any savory dish. 
  • Red Pepper Flakes  – red pepper flakes are another classic Italian ingredient. You can add as little or as much as you desire to shape the flavor profile of your stew to be a little spicy! 
  • Tomato Paste  – Tomatoes are one of the chief plant-based umami flavors, and tomato paste is a concentration of all that tomato goodness. Its a little sweet, and helps to thickens stews. 
  • White Wine – White White brings sweetness and acid to the broth that’s vital for a balanced soup, and a richer flavor.
  • Chicken Broth  – Use chicken broth as the base of this stew, but if you’re short on chicken stock, you could swap for beef broth, beer, water and bullion, or more wine!
  • Cannellini Beans – Cannellini beans are a white cousin of the kidney bean. They’re common in Italian and Mediterranean cooking. They have a wonderful creamy texture that compliments the dense and chewy texture of the kale. 
  • Diced Tomatoes – Diced tomatoes add texture, flavor, and visually appealing contrast to this dish. Remember we eat first with our eyes! The red tomato also pairs with the white beans and green kale to represent the colors of the Italian flag. 
  • Italian Seasoning  – This blend of oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram is a staple of Italian cooking and flavors that complement chicken and beans well. You can whip up your own blend, too.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Parmesan cheese is a quintessential Italian cheese, made from cow’s milk and aged for 12 months. Its salty, nutty, and umami flavors are a delicious finish to this stew. 

One you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method: 

  • Brown the chicken.  In a large, hot skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Season your chicken thighs well with salt and pepper and then brown on both sides in the hot oil. Remove from pan and set aside when well browned on both sides.
  • Saute the vegetables.  In the same pan saute the onion for 3-5 minutes until golden, then add the garlic and shallots and cook for another minute. Add the remaining ingredients, except the kale and the cheese, and cook together for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add the kale. Add the kale to the stew and turn off the heat allowing the kale to wilt slightly.
  • Bake in the oven. Return the chicken to the pan, on top of the kale and vegetable mixture. Cover and put into an oven preheated to 375o F. Cook for 20 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and the kale is soft. The braising liquid should have thickened nicely into a luxurious stew consistency.
  • Enjoy! Once removed from the oven, allow to rest for 3-4 minutes. Sever with a healthy sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese and finely chopped Italian parsley for color.
picture of chicken thigh in tomato stew with white beans, kale, herbs, and onions in a white bowl

Tips and Tricks

Making this Italian Chicken and Bean Stew is very easy, but here are a few tips to make it even better! 

Use bone-in thighs with skin for more flavor. If you really want to kick up the flavor of your stew, you can use skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. Rendering the fat from the skin when you brown the chicken will add more flavor. You will need to adjust the cooking times as bone-in meat takes longer to come to temperature than boneless thighs. 

Don’t have use of an oven? You can cook this chicken in a slow cooker, or on the stove-top if you don’t have use of an oven. The slow cooker will take longer to cook so be sure to plan ahead. If you decide to cook it on the stovetop, cook on low heat, and be sure to stir frequently so it doesn’t burn. 

picture of chicken thigh in tomato stew with white beans, kale, herbs, and onions in a white bowl

FAQs

Can I use chicken breasts?

Any chicken will do, but white meat chicken will make a slightly-less rich broth. You should reduce the cooking time to 15-18 minutes or until the breast reaches an internal temperature of 165o F. 

Can I make this ahead of time?

You can prepare this ahead of time and reheat in the oven the next. As with many soups and stews the flavors are even more pronounced and rich after they’ve had time to meld together overnight in the refrigerator.

How long can I store this recipe?

You can keep the Italian Chicken and Bean stew in the refrigerator for up to four (4) days and freeze it for 3-6 months. When freezing, the beans will break down a bit, and create an even thicker and creamier stew. When reheating, you may need to add ½-¾ of a cup of extra chicken stock to prevent burning. 

 

picture of chicken thighs in tomato stew with white beans, kale, herbs, and onions in a pan on a table

What to serve with Italian Chicken and Bean Stew

Nothing goes better with a rich, hearty stew than a slice of hot and fresh crusty bread. I have a couple of recipes that go really well with this dish including my easy, no-knead bread

You can kick your stew and bread dinner up a notch by serving it with my easy bread dip which is a great flavor accompaniment to the stew’s meaty Italian flavors. 

If you want something even riched, and multi-national for your side, I recommend Georgian cheesy bread called Khachapuri

Try these sides:

Italian Chicken and Bean Stew Recipe

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picture of chicken thigh in tomato stew with white beans, kale, herbs, and onions in a white bowl
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Italian Chicken and Bean Stew

This delicious Italian chicken and bean stew is packed with delicious tender chicken, hearty beans, and savory vegetables for the perfect winter comfort soup!
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken thigh stew, chicken thighs, italian chicken stew, kale, white beans
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 832kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell
Cost $9

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs about 2 pounds – boneless, skinless, bone-in, or skin-on all ok and will just impact cooking time, use what you have
  • 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 shallot minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • One 15-ounce can cannellini bean rinsed and drained
  • One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • cup grated Parmesan plus more for serving

Instructions

  • Pre-heat your oven in 3750 
  • Add olive oil to large oven safe skillet or dutch oven. 
  • Heat on medium high until light and shimmery. 
  • Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. 
  • Add chicken thighs to pan and brown on both sides. 
  • Stir in diced onion, and cook 3-5 minutes until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. 
  • Stir in garlic and shallot, cooking 1 minute, until fragrant. 
  • Add beans, tomato paste, wine, stock, herbs, and tomatoes. Stir well to combine. Remove chicken from pan briefly and set aside. 
  • Stir in kale, heating briefly just long enough to let it wilt so it fits well in pan. 
  • Add chicken back to pan. 
  • Remove from stove and add to oven. 
  • Bake 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through to 175 degrees, and stew has thickened.
  • Sprinkle with minced parsley and grated parmesan cheese.
  • Enjoy! 

Nutrition

Serving: 21/2 cups | Calories: 832kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 257mg | Sodium: 1179mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 7g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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