Skillet Chicken with White Beans and Kale

by Emily Kemme
skillet chicken

Pull together this comfy, cozy skillet chicken dinner to welcome autumn. The most hands-on part of the recipe is browning the chicken. After that, let the ingredients get to know each other in a deep skillet. As the chicken braises, it pulls in flavor from the other ingredients while the liquid tenderizes the meat. And while kale is often scorned as inedible and best reserved for decorating salad bars, this dish proves skeptics wrong! As the vegetable simmers alongside the meat, the kale will soften, ending up with almost a buttery flavor. It’s healthy, tasty, and makes leftovers. What more could you ask for in a recipe?

If you have leftover beans, reserve them for a side dish for another meal. For example, pair with pan roasted pork or lamb chops for a quick meal.

skillet chicken
There are several kale varieties that are good for this recipe. Purple curly kale or the dark green, bumpy leaved lacinato (or Tuscan) kale work equally well.

Skillet Chicken with White Beans and Kale Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 inch lardons
  • 6 – 8 bone-in chicken thighs, or 6 full chicken legs, about 3 pounds total
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 – 4 large shallots, diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch lacinato or curly kale, leaves sliced from center rib and chopped
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 4 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15-oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

Cook the recipe:

Warm skillet over medium heat and add bacon segments. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon fat is rendered and meat is lightly browned. Remove to small bowl and reserve.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Pour olive oil into skillet and swirl to coat. Add chicken pieces and brown in sections to prevent crowding. Chicken skin should be dark brown and crisped. Remove browned pieces to clean bowl or plate.

Add more olive oil if skillet is dry and add garlic. Sauté on medium low for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add onion into the skillet, again adding oil if necessary. Cook, stirring, until onion is softened, golden, but not browned.

Pour wine into skillet and raise heat to bring liquid to low boil. Simmer, scraping browned bits on bottom of the pan, and cook until wine is reduced by half.

Add carrot, thyme, and kale to the skillet and top with chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, add beans, lemon peel, tomato paste, and reserved bacon to skillet. Nestle the chicken into the bean mixture, skin side up, and cover. Cook on low for 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has a silky texture.

Serve in deep shallow bowls.

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