I live for soups and stews in the colder months, and this is one of my favorites! Tender chicken breast and a seemingly endless variety of beans will ensure that you leave the dinner table satisfied. There is nothing better than a crusty piece of buttered sourdough bread alongside a steaming bowl of this stew. I love to fill my home with the fragrant aromas of garlic, onions and tarragon as I makeup an extra-large batch on a Sunday afternoon. Even the kids get excited as it simmers on the stove. You can easily freeze the leftover stew for another day, or eat it for lunch throughout the week. But be sure to make a lot because you are guaranteed to love it as well.
**Don’t eat meat? Check out the vegan option at the bottom!
20oz dry mixed beans (I use HamBeens 15 Bean Soup and toss the seasoning packet in the trash, but any variety of beans will work. Try for mix containing at least 10 beans.)
1 large onion quartered
3-4 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
3-4 dried bay leaves
1 large onion diced
4 large celery stalks washed, trimmed and diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 large carrots washed, peeled and diced
1-2 jalapenos washed, deseeded and finely chopped
12oz beer (an ale or lager work best)
Juice of one lemon
28oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes (do not drain)
2lbs chicken breast cubed
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons tarragon
15-20oz bag frozen corn
Salt to taste
When working with dry beans, many recipes will call for you to soak the beans overnight to rehydrate them. I prefer to use a quick cook method and infuse more flavor into my beans in the process.
Rinse beans and place in a large pot filled with at least 10 cups water. Add the quartered onion, smashed garlic cloves, and bay leaves. Liberally salt water and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 – 1½ hours stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat, drain the beans, and set aside.
In the same pot, heat the oil on medium. Add the onions, celery, carrots, jalapenos, and garlic. Sauté vegetables until translucent. Then return the beans to the pot, and add the stock, beer, lemon juice and tomatoes.
Bring to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients (except salt), and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1-2 hours. The longer the stew cooks, the better it tastes. About halfway through cooking (when the chicken is completely cooked), check the flavor and adjust salt level if needed.
Vegan option: Use vegetable stock and omit the chicken. Add 2 cups of quinoa (along with the other remaining ingredients) to the pot once the stock, beer, lemon juice and tomatoes are boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Check salt level about halfway through cooking and adjust if necessary.