Saturday, 9 March 2013

More Cheap Chow

Chicken with cannellini beans

The blogger spell checker doesn't like 'cannellini' and proposes, inter alia, 'cunnilingus' instead. A chacun son goût. Some crude joke about cunnilingus beans might be possible, but I'm not going there.

Anyway, this dish is lovely stuff, nearly as easy as beans on toast and muck cheap. You'll need chicken thighs or breasts with the skin on, some cannellini beans and some sliced red pepper for the body of the dish, and rosemary, thyme, garlic, chili flakes, grated lemon zest, white wine, olive oil and salt to goose it up. Despite its simplicity and economy, you could serve it to guests and they'd still feel cared for, mainly because it's so tasty but partly because it promotes vigorous peristalsis. All those beans will eliminate the need for the chronically costive to stay home periodically and purge. Pepys would have raved over it.

Yesterday, all day bound and with little wind, yet I made shift to endure it and did go abroad. At noon to my Lord Suola’s, and there a poor man's dish of beans sod in wine and a brace of capons. We had nothing but only this, which being stewed with sweet aromas was a pretty enough dish, but Lord, methought, so sorry a dinner, for my Lord Suola keeps a lean table and inveighs against venison pasties, neat’s tongues, muttons and salmagundis for the stopping of the bowels, and this I thought a strange thing; and not a handsome woman in sight, which was another. Then today, from the eating of beans, a marvellous great freedom of wind, and an easy and plentiful passing of goodly stool, neither watery nor barbed: and this without physic or clyster, for which I thank God and My Lord Suola’s dish of beans.    

If you want to feel virtuously frugal, you could buy your cannellini beans dry from a health food cooperative, soak them overnight, then boil the bloody things forever, but I find canned cannellinis save on time, fuel and flatulence. Just rinse the gunk off your beans and tip them into an oven dish. Sprinkle over them your chopped fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped garlic, lemon zest and a scattering of chilli flakes. Throw in your red pepper. I used peppers from a jar last time I cooked this, but next time I'm going to use one I charred and scraped myself, to see how well the smoky flavour complements the whole thing. If it turns out tasting as if it had been cooked in an ash tray, I'll let you know. A bit of free advertising here: the only jarred red peppers I can eat are the ones from the Spanish company Fragata. I find everybody else's too soft and slimy, and I hate slithery-textured food. Fragata peppers retain a just a little bit of resistance. Where were we? Oh yeah, add a slug each of olive oil and white wine, some salt to taste and give the mixture a damn good toss. Last time I added a little concentrated chicken stock, but I reckon it'd be perfectly good without it.

Heat the oven to 200-ish, and place your chicken, anointed with oil and sprinkled with salt, on top of the beans. Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring up the beans at about the half-way mark.  It occurred to me that these garlicky, chilied and rosemaried cunnilingus beans would go well with sausages, or be perfectly acceptable as a vegetarian meal. Eat with a green salad and some good bread. We can actually get bloody good bread where I live nowadays. Anywhere else in England - good luck.


maria verivaki said...

dear lord suola, i have immensely enjoyed your version of pepys - i may get round to the recipe one of these days too

Vilges Suola said...

Glad you liked it. Am going to cook it tonight.

CJB said...

Pepys would be very well pleased, not only with your vivid versioning of relief resulting from cheap bean chow, but with the cheap mean chow itself. Wish I could be arsed to cook - it's just such a drag cooking for one. How do you remain so inspired?

Vilges Suola said...

I like cooking for one, you can experiment and your less than perfect efforts are never seen by anyone else.


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