Keep this supremely satisfying one-skillet dinner in your pocket for nights when you need an instant mood boost. The combination of textures, flavors, and colors is really special—especially for a dinner that comes together so easily. Here’s the gist: Brown chicken thighs, skin-side down, in a skillet until the skin is golden and shatteringly crisp (a la Canal House’s “Genius” Chicken Thighs With Lemons on this site). Set them aside, then use all of that well-laid savory goodness for making a skillet full of brothy beans, greens, and tomatoes perfumed with lemon zest and fennel seed. Lay the crispy thighs over the brothy beans, and gently simmer until the meat is cooked through.
A few notes: Reach for homemade chicken stock if you have it, but I can attest that even a good store-bought variety will taste rich and amazing when infused with golden chicken fat, garlic, and chile flakes as it is here. As for the amount of stock you’ll need, start with the quantity I’ve specified, then add more to your liking. You want the beans to be covered with just enough stock to keep every bite lively, but not so much that you’re approximating a soup or a stew.
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 40 minutes
- Serves 4
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt plus freshly ground black pepper, to taste
medium yellow onion, finely chopped
garlic cloves, minced
fennel seed, lightly crushed
chile flakes, or to taste
Finely grated lemon zest, from 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups
chicken stock (homemade or store-bought), or more as needed
(packed) kale (curly or Tuscan)
cannellini beans, cooked from dried or from a 19-ounce can
14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained of juice
- Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken, skin side down. Cook, without moving, until the skin has rendered its fat and is deeply browned and crispy, about 15 to 25 minutes. Lower heat if the skin is browning too quickly or unevenly. Remove skillet from heat, and transfer chicken to a plate, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onions. Sauté until tender, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to release any bits of fond, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, fennel seed, chile flakes, and lemon zest, and sauté for another minute.
- Add chicken stock, kale, cannellini beans, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and arrange the chicken thighs on top, leaving the skin out of the liquid. Cook, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (165°F in the thickest part), adjusting the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- To serve, ladle a scoop of the brothy beans into a low bowl, with a crispy chicken thigh (either left whole or cut into bite-sized pieces) on top. Serve with crusty bread, if desired.