Originally aired April 4, 2013
- 1 rounded cup dry cannellini beans
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 onions, 1 halved and 1 chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, 2 crushed and 4 sliced
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
- 1 starchy potato, peeled and chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon, juice of half
- 1 large head escarole, cleaned and coarsely chopped
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- Crusty bread, warmed and torn
Boil enough water to cover beans; pour over beans in a bowl and let stand 1 hour. Rinse and drain, and place beans in a 4- to 5-quart pot. Cover with water by about 2 inches and bring to a gentle boil. Salt water and turn down to a low boil. Add bay leaf, halved onion, crushed garlic and rosemary, and simmer until tender, 30-35 minutes. Drain and discard onions and bay. Remove rosemary stems (the leaves will fall into beans).
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Brown chicken until skin is crispy and the meat is browned, 8 minutes or so, turning once. Transfer chicken to a plate and reduce heat a bit. Add pancetta and crisp for 3 minutes. Add potato and lightly brown, 4-5 minutes. Add chopped onions, sliced garlic, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest and cook to soften, 8-10 minutes, stirring often. Wilt escarole into pan, season with a few grates of nutmeg and add beans and their stock. Nest the chicken in greens and beans, and transfer pan to oven to finish cooking, 15-18 minutes at a low simmer.
Stir in a squeeze of lemon juice and serve chicken, escarole, beans and broth in shallow bowls with bread alongside for mopping.