Abruzzo’s cooks are masters at turning simple ingredients into glorious feasts. My grandmother was one of those cooks and she never failed to amaze in turning out meals in that simple yet delicious way. Even for Sunday dinner she relied on humble dishes, serving pasta and contorni like fennel and beans to accompany a platter of her oven baked chicken, which of course was well seasoned in the Abruzzo way with hot pepper flakes.
In the spirit of such simple dishes, I decided to combine several of my grandmother’s favorites for a dish made with just five ingredients. The dish focuses on beans, which offer healthy, nutritious, and inexpensive protein. Many people think of beans only for winter dishes like soups and stews but they are wonderful served with grilled meats in the summertime and this is the approach I took.
I used cannellini beans, a traditional favorite of Tuscan kitchens, instead of my grandmother’s beloved ceci beans. Large, creamy white in color and mild in flavor they make a flavorful base for other ingredients. Although my grandmother cooked with tomatoes from her kitchen garden, grape tomatoes offer equal flavor without as much juice. Finally, I grilled the chicken thighs rather than roasting them in the oven. In the end it was not a bad approximation of her favorite Sunday dishes.
Abruzzo Style Cannellini Beans with Fennel and Chicken
1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium bulb fennel, cored and sliced into thin wedges. Reserve the fronds for garnish
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tbs olive oil
½ cup water
salt & pepper to taste
Optional additions and substitutions include: 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 small diced onion, herbs including basil and parsley, chicken broth instead of water, chicken breasts instead of thighs, roasting instead of grilling the chicken.
Fire up the grill. Drizzle chicken with 1 tbs olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Grill for for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Remove, tent and set aside.
While chicken is grilling, sauté fennel in remaining olive oil on medium-low heat in a medium skillet for ~10 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add tomatoes and continue to sauté for 5-10 minutes until the skins burst. Add beans, water, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper. Cook for 10 more minutes until the ingredients meld and the liquid is somewhat reduced. Transfer to a serving platter and place chicken pieces on top. Garnish with fennel fronds.
If using additions, add garlic and onions while sautéing the fennel. Add herbs during the final sauté step.
This week my friends in the Sunday Supper group are sharing recipes that use 5 ingredients or less (excluding oil, water, salt and pepper). Such dishes may have been a snap for cooks like my Abruzzese grandmother, but they can be a real challenge in today’s kitchen. Try their easy, inspiring dishes for summer dining.
Five Ingredient Challenge:
- 2 Ingredient Orange Juice Frosty Drink by The Educators' Spin On It
- 5 Ingredient Power Smoothie by Lifestyle Food Artistry
- Five Ingredient Sangria by Our Good Life
- Pina Colada Summer Smoothie by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Appetizers and Snacks
- 5-Ingredient Creamy Avocado Dressing by Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Crescent Jalapeno Poppers by The Weekend Gourmet
- Crockpot Chicken Chili Dip by The Crumby Cupcake
- Gluten Free Peach Salsa by Gluten Free Crumbley
- Grilled Zucchini and Goat Cheese Roll Ups by Food Done Light
- Marinated Feta Tomato Skewers by Noshing with the Nolands
- Roasted Chili-Lime Peanuts by Casa de Crews
- Strawberry Coconut Soup by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- 3 Ingredient Steak Marinade by MealDiva
- Cabun Chicken and Sausage Skewers by Cookin' Mimi
- Chicken Fajita Bake by Recipes Food and Cooking
- Crab Pasta by Caroline's Cooking
- Grilled Portobello Mushrooms by Palatable Pastime
- Healthy Chocolate Protein Pancakes by Momma's Meals
- Homemade Porcini Almond Pasta by The Joyful Foodie
- Italian Sausage & Broccoli Rabe by Carrie's Experimental Kitchen
- Italian Style Cannellini Beans with Fennel & Chicken by Delaware Girl Eats
- Nutella BLT Sandwich by Brunch with Joy
- Salmon in Puff Pastry by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Simple Brined Roast Chicken with Herbs and Garlic by Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Simple Grilled Tilapia by Cooking Chat
- Simple Summer Shrimp and Asparagus by eating in instead
- Skirt Steak and Grilled Potatoes for a Crowd by Family Foodie
- Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken by Nosh My Way
- Slowcooker Ravioli Lasagne by Jane's Adventures in Dinner
- Brazilian Black Beans by Curious Cuisiniere
- Korean Seasoned Dried Squid (Ojingeochae muchim) by kimchi MOM
- Mashed Cauliflower with Parmesan by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Sauerkraut and Apple Salad by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Sesame Lime Edamame by Magnolia Days
- Southern Style Squash Casserole by Recipe for Perfection
- Tomato, Avocado and Bacon Salad by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Apple Drop Candy by What Smells So Good?
- Chocolate Toffee Cookies by NinjaBaker.com
- Coconut White Chocolate Truffles by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Easy No Churn Peach Frozen Yogurt by Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
- Fluffernutter Cookies by Pies and Plots
- Magic Pudding Dessert by Grumpy's Honeybunch
- No-Churn Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Rhubarb Crumble by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Roasted Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream Pops by Simply Health Family
- Recipe Substitution Tips by Sunday Supper
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.