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I wanted to create a healthy yet delicious weeknight meal and in my search, was inspired by another wonderful Cooking Light recipe.  This dish of braised chicken thighs has a wonderful flavor base from pancetta and onions.  I really think the combination of those two flavors can elevate many dishes to magnificence.

I can’t decide is this is a soup, stew or chicken dish with a sauce.  It could really be any of the above based on how much chicken stock you add.  I also had planned to enrich the sauce with some white wine but completely forgot.  Oh well, it was still really tasty.

To start, cook some diced pancetta until crispy.  You could use bacon but I am on a pancetta kick at the moment.  Remove and set aside.  Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and brown in the pan where you cooked the pancetta.  Remove the chicken and set aside.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened.  Each element adds more flavor to the dish.  Add the chicken back to the pot, along with the tomatoes, beans, thyme, rosemary and chicken stock.  This is when I should have added the white wine.  Add the cooked pancetta and the kale.  Simmer away for 15 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked through.  The pancetta is quite salty so you may not need to add additional seasoning.

I decided once it was cooked that I wanted the broth to be thicker so I took an additional can of beans and mashed them with my hands until most were softened.  When they were added to the chicken, the sauce thickened considerably leading the dish to become more stew and less soup. This dish can served as is or over cooked rice for a heartier meal.

The wine we enjoyed with this meal was outstanding.  I picked this bottle up at a wine store that was relocating and just had this lone bottle.  It is 10 years old and has really mellowed into a smooth and luxurious Cab blend.

This wine is a joint venture between Chateau St. Michelle and Antinori and is made in Washington State.  While mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (59%) it also has Merlot (31%) and Syrah (10%).  The dark fruit aromas are mesmerizing, and while a lot of new oak was used to make the wine, it is not overwhelming on the palate at all.  This wine was delicious!

Chicken with White Beans and Kale

8 skinless chicken thighs (I prefer with bone)

2 14.5 oz cans white beans (both drained, 1 as is, 1 hand mashed)

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1-2 cups chicken stock (or more if you want soup)

fresh thyme and rosemary, a sprig or two of each

3 thick slices of pancetta

1 small onion or 1/2 medium onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups torn Kale

salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)