2 Pounds of chicken breasts skinless and boneless (4 chicken breasts)
29 Oz can of Cannellini beans rinsed and drained
4 Oz of Pancetta cubed
1 Tablespoon of Tomato Paste
1 Small yellow onion diced
5 Garlic cloves minced
1/2 Cup of Sun-Dried tomatoes either packed in oil or not if packed in oil drain the oil
2 Cups of chicken stock
2 Tablespoons of sage sliced about 8 or 9 large sage leaves
4 Oz of baby Kale
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. This reminds me of a Dinner I had while I was visiting Tuscany Italy. In Tuscany it's all about cooking with fresh ingredients. I have worked this recipe a few times until I thought it tasted exactly like my dinner in Tuscany. It is not tomato season so I substituted Fresh San Marzano tomatoes with Sun-Dried tomatoes packed in olive oil. I am starting with a Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid to hold in the moisture and a pan that can go from stove top to oven. This is a one pan recipe and that is always a favorite of mine. In a cold Dutch oven with no oil place the cubed pancetta in the pan. We want to render the fat out of the pancetta without burning the pancetta, turn the burner on a low with the pancetta already in the cold pan. This low heat will start to melt the fat off the pancetta and cook and brown the pancetta, this will take around 15 minutes depending on the heat of your burner stir the pancetta as it begins to brown. With a slotted spoon remove the browned pancetta from the pan and place it on a paper towel lined plate to dry and leave all the rendered pancetta fat on the bottom of the pan.
2. In same pan with all the pancetta fat remaining turn the burner to a medium high heat and when the pan heats up you want to add the Chicken breasts. Before adding the chicken breasts to the pan you want to salt and pepper the chicken. I have one important tip the pancetta is a very salty Italian cured pork, It is from the same cut as bacon the pork belly but the difference is that it is not smoked so be very light on your salt all the way through cooking this recipe. When the chicken hits the hot pan cook 4 minutes on each side until they get a golden brown color the chicken will finish cooking in the oven. The pancetta fat will give amazing flavor to the chicken and dish.
3. After the chicken is browned on both sides remove from the pan and set aside place in the diced onions stir through the pancetta oil then add the garlic on top of the onions and cook for 2 minutes until onions are translucent. Then add the tomato paste to the onions and garlic stir through to incorporate everything and cook the tomato paste with the onions for 1 minute.
4. After the tomato paste is cooked add the cannellini beans, sun-dried tomatoes and chicken stock and with your spatula scrape the bottom of the bowl to release all the brown bits from pancetta and chicken. In Italy the herb sage is what they call the miracle herb add the fresh sage and place back into the pan the browned pancetta and chicken and don't forget to add the liquid gold that is the chicken juice that releases in the pan as it rests (picture below). Put the tight fitting lid on the Dutch oven and place into the oven for 50 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes the chicken fork tender, no need for a knife the chicken just falls apart.
5. After 50 minutes of cooking in the oven remove the hot lid and stir in the fresh baby kale. I find it easy to remove the chicken breasts stir in the kale and then place the chicken breast back into the pan and let simmer on low with lid on for 3 minutes until the kale wilts into the sauce. This is delicious one pot dinner that has everything from your greens to starches and healthy proteins. Don't forget to crab your spoon you will want all that sauce.