RECIPE

Crispy Skin Chicken Breasts with Escarole and White Beans

This recipe has the crispiest skin and the juiciest chicken breast you can make in less than 20 minutes. You’ll see this method of cooking called “chicken under a brick,” but a weighted skillet is easier to manage than a brick!

Ingredients

For the beans (for a quick supper, use a can of cannellini beans):

  • 1 cup dry white beans (cannellini beans)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • Salt

For the chicken and escarole:

  • 4 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large head escarole, cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • A few grates of nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Crusty bread, for mopping

Preparation

Cover the beans with boiling water and soak them for 1 hour. Rinse and add to a medium size pot with the rosemary, onion and bay leaf. Cover the beans with a couple of inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to keep the beans at a low, rolling boil and cook until tender, 30-40 minutes. Drain and discard the rosemary stem, onion and bay.


Combine half of the garlic and all of the herbs in a small bowl. Loosen the skin from the chicken and rub the spices across the breast meat. Replace the skin and season with salt and pepper.


Warm a serving platter in the oven.


Add a turn of the pan of olive oil to a cast iron skillet. Place the chicken, skin-side down, in the cold pan, then turn on the heat to medium-high. Weigh down the chicken breasts with another heavy skillet or a weighted skillet. Cook for 12 minutes, then turn the chicken and cook for 6 minutes more. Add the wine to the pan to pick up the drippings and remove to a warm platter with the pan juice.


Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet, a turn of the pan. Reduce the heat a bit, then add the onion and the remaining garlic and stir to soften, 7-8 minutes. Add the crushed pepper flakes and stir, then wilt in the escarole. Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the stock and beans and simmer for a few minutes. Douse with lemon juice.


Serve the beans and greens in shallow bowls and top with a piece of crispy chicken. Pass crusty bread, for mopping.

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Rachael Ray