Pesto chicken and cannellini bean hotpot

This is what I made for the Cincinnati Supper Club at my place on Thursday, and it was a total improv that fortunately paid off.

I usually use chicken thighs, because the meat is so much more flavorful, but I had two EXTREMELY picky eaters coming (5chw4r7z and Ms. 5chw4r7z – whose presence also meant I couldn’t put mushrooms in anything. Freaks.). So I used breasts instead, which I cut into bite-sized chunks.

I combined the chicken pieces with a jar of Trader Joe’s pesto and let it marinate for about an hour (optional). Next I browned the meat, then added a tin of chopped tomatoes (I like Hunt’s) and about two cups of chicken stock (made with Trader Joe’s concentrated liquid stock). This simmered for 20 minutes so the chicken could cook through, after which I added the cannellini beans (2 tins, rinsed of gloop and drained) and some sour cream. I’d tell you how much, but you wouldn’t believe me. (Okay, it was two heaping dessertspoonfuls.)

This is great because you can make it ahead of time, then just warm it up ten minutes before it’s time to eat. The beans can go in before warming back up, as they don’t need much cooking time.

The hotpot is quite liquid-y, but I didn’t want to serve it from bowls, so I made a simple risotto upon which to serve this. Because of the aforementioned picky eaters, I omitted the mushrooms and the parmesan from the risotto, but you really don’t need them here, as the rice is there to soak up the tomato pesto goodness. To make that, just fry an onion in butter and olive oil, add the risotto rice to the pan and stir until every grain is covered in fat, then add vegetable or chicken stock – one ladle at a time, adding the next only when the liquid has been absorbed – and stir continuously for about 17 minutes. You want fat, glistening grains with no chalkiness to them when bitten.

I can confirm that this makes really nice leftovers, too.

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