Food & Recipes

Crispy Skin Chicken Breasts with Escarole and White Beans

Aired September 5, 2014


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

For the Chicken and Escarole:
4 pieces boneless, skin-on chicken breast
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 nutmeg
1 lemon
Crusty bread, for mopping


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

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

Warm a serving platter in oven.

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

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

Serve the beans and greens in shallow bowls and top with a piece of crispy chicken.

Everyone loves chicken and here is the crispiest skin and most delicious chicken breast you can make in less than 20 minutes. This method of cooking, weighting the chicken, is called “chicken under a brick” but a weighted skillet is easier to manage then bricks.

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