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This recipe came to us courtesy of The Amateur Gourmet, Adam Roberts. I’ve been a fan of Adam’s blog for a while now, and stop in from time to time to see what he’s up to, but this is the first dish I’ve made of his. I’m happy to say that it was a complete success.

Lemon-Butter Chicken with White Beans has an unassuming name, but is really delicious in an unpretentious kind of way. I told B that it was like eating wonderful poor man’s food. Adam recommends Rancho Gordo beans, but what I had on hand and was searching for a use for were Publix brand navy beans, bought for another purpose long ago and never used, relegated instead to the back of our pantry until inspiration hit in the form of this recipe.

Adam’s photos and instructions were easy to follow (and his photos much prettier than mine). I took his steps and made them into a formal recipe format for you below. I did very little different: I had my butcher cut my whole chicken up for me instead of doing it myself (just easier, what with a curious dog under my feet while I cook); I substituted fresh thyme for parsley because it’s doing better in my garden than my parsley; I decreased the butter a bit. It was still silky and full of flavor; I did not use any onion because of B’s dietary restrictions. See Adam’s original post on where you can add it if you’d like.

The recipe made enough for us to each have a serving and be pleasantly full afterward. I packaged up the leftovers to bring to work—enough for three day’s worth of lunches. We shredded the remaining chicken off the bone and I topped the beans with chicken and the lemon-butter sauce…and then B stole out of the kitchen with the remaining chicken that I didn’t take, and ate it happily on the sofa with the TV on.

This chicken really was great, and could stand on it’s own with the lemon-butter sauce. Pair it with smashed potatoes or rice and asparagus for another meal entirely. It’ll be on our rotation from now on.

The Amateur Gourmet’s Lemon-Butter Chicken with White Beans
Original recipe here

For the Beans:

  • 1 (16-oz.) package white beans (I used navy beans—splurge and get yourself nice-quality beans. They’re a big part of this dish and will be worth it.)
  • 3 carrots, divided use
  • 4 celery ribs, divided use
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 anchovy fillets (mine were packed in oil. Truthfully, I’d never cooked with anchovies before, and bought the cheapest jar I could find, not knowing if it would be a success. $2.50 at Whole Foods)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used about 2 tsp.)

For the Chicken:

  • 1 (3.5- to 4-lb.) whole chicken, cut into pieces (I had my butcher do it, free of charge. If they ask if you need the backbone, say yes if you want to freeze it for stock, no if you won’t use it)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

For the Lemon-Butter Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Chopped fresh thyme or parsley
  1. Prepare the beans first: Place the beans in a large bowl, and cover with cold tap water. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature 7-8 hours. Drain. (I started mine at 7 a.m. and drained at 4 p.m. Let ’em go all day while you do other things.)
  2. Place the drained beans in a Dutch oven or large stock pot. Add 1 carrot, 1 celery rib, and the bay leaf. Cover with cold tap water. (I used 8 cups.) Bring to a simmer, and let simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Check on them occasionally to stir; add a bit more water if it looks low.
  3. Take this time to prep the other ingredients: Chop the remaining 2 carrots, 3 celery ribs, and the garlic. Set them aside.
  4. Drain the beans over a large bowl, reserving the liquid. Discard the bay leaf, carrot, and celery rib. Set the beans and liquid aside.
  5. Prepare the chicken: Preheat the oven to 425°. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet. (I used a 12-inch stainless steel. Do not use nonstick, unless you know that yours is oven-safe over 425°. I’d recommend a stainless steel either way for the browning benefits.) Add the chicken pieces, skin sides down. Cook 5 minutes or until the skin is nicely browned. Turn the chicken over, using tongs. (If your chicken sticks a bit, gently scrape your tongs between the chicken and the skillet to release the skin.)
  7. Transfer chicken, in skillet, to the oven. Bake at 425° for 35-40 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of breast registers at least 165°.
  8. While the chicken bakes, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped carrot and celery, and saute until tender. (B likes his veggies pretty soft, so I sauteed for 10 minutes. Go for 5 minutes if you like them crisp-tender.) Add the garlic and anchovy fillets, and saute 3-4 minutes or until the anchovy fillets dissolve. Add the beans and their reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer. Simmer gently 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.
  9. After 35-40 minutes (around the same time the beans are done…good timing), remove the chicken from the oven and test for doneness. It should be around 165°. If so, transfer it to a plate and let it rest.
  10. While the chicken rests, prepare the lemon-butter sauce: (SUGGESTION: The skillet will be very hot. I suggest keeping an oven mitt on at all times so that you won’t accidentally grab the handle and burn yourself.) Place the skillet—with all that fabulous chicken liquid—on the stove-top, and add the butter. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the sauce emulsifies. Add the lemon juice and thyme.
  11. Done! Plate it up, and spoon the sauce over everything. Serve it with French bread, and enjoy.

Recipe thanks to Adam Roberts @ The Amateur Gourmet

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