This is an easy hearty recipe that will warm you up this winter.
3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
3 stalks celery, cut into bite size pieces
2 carrots peeled, cut into bite size pieces
1 onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (14-1/2 oz) cans chopped tomatoes, one with jalapeno, one plain.
1 (32 oz.) box of chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves or 1 Tbsp. dried
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 whole chicken cut up in pieces
1 (15 oz.) can of kidney beans, drained and 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo or white beans drained.
fresh sliced mushrooms (optional)
Heat the oil in a heavy 5-1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion. Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme. Add the chicken pieces; press to submerge.
Bring the cooking liquid to simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken over and stirring the mixture occasionally, about 25 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a work surface and cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Add the kidney beans and garbanzo beans to the pot. Add the mushrooms here if you choose to. Simmer until the liquid has reduced into stew consistency, about 10 minutes.
Discard the skin and bones from the chicken. Shred or cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew just to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the stew into serving bowls and serve with good crusty bread.