Tuscan Chicken with White Beans and Kale

Tuscan Chicken with white beans and kale has tender meat that falls off the bone in a rich gravy flavored with pancetta, cannellini beans, garlic and rosemary. Cook this hearty one-pot meal in a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or stovetop.

October 15, 2022

Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken in a white dish

Cooking with Bone-In Meat Provides Health Benefits

Using bone-in chicken makes this Italian rosemary chicken recipe more flavorful and offers nutritional benefits. Bones provide vitamin A, minerals, and collagen. For more nutritional benefits, check out Stephanie Kay’s Nutrition post on Why you Should Eat Bone-In Meat. If eating meat off the bone is not your thing, remove it before serving, and the nutritional benefits will remain in the delicious sauce.

Adding kale makes this a wonderful one-pot meal.

Tuscan Chicken: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, or Stovetop

Cooking with bones adds to the cooking time, which is why I offer the recipe in various cooking methods. The recipe below explains the variations between the three ways:

  1. Instant Pot or pressure cooker
  2. Slow cooker
  3. Stovetop in a Dutch oven

Make Tuscan Chicken a Mediterranean One-Pot Meal

I’ve adapted the original recipe from America’s Test Kitchen by adding kale, making it a one-pot dinner, or serve it with your favorite salad like Strawberry Arugula Salad with Sugar-Free Balsamic Vinaigrette. This Italian rosemary chicken dish will be an instant family favorite.

Tuscan Chicken with White Beans and Kale ingredients

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Cannellini beans keep the recipe true to Italian cuisine, or Navy or great northern beans make great substitutes. 
  • Cannot find pancetta? No worries, bacon will do the trick.
  • Forgot to pick up fresh rosemary, use dried but don’t forget it the next time you make it. Fresh rosemary is a game changer for flavor. Grow it in your garden to keep it readily available.
  • Chicken: use bone-in chicken thighs or breasts. But boneless chicken is an option. You may need more oil when browning the meat, and the cooking time will be less. See recipe notes.
  • Are you cutting fat? Remove the skin after searing the meat in step 3. However, don’t remove the skin before browning because it provides excellent fond (caramelized bits left in the bottom of the pan) for the rich and flavorful gravy.
  • Kale comes in various forms, and any are great ingredients: baby kale, curly kale, pre-cut bagged. Not a fan of kale? – substitute with spinach.

Kale Options

baby kale
1

Baby kale

curly kale in loose leaves
2

Curly kale in loose leaves

precut and bagged kale
3

Precut and bagged kale

Why Tuscan Chicken with White Beans and Kale is a Winning Recipe

• One pot meal

• Loaded with collagen, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

• Mediterranean diet recipe from poultry, greens (kale), and beans

• Variety of cooking methods – Instant Pot, Crockpot, or stovetop

• Uses  bone-in chicken thighs or breasts

Recipe Steps

Add lemon juice to baby kale to soften the leaves
1

Prepare the kale by adding lemon juice to "cook" and soften leaves.

Browning Tuscan Chicken thighs
2

Heat oil in a cooking pot to brown bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs.

Browned chicken in pressure cooker (Instant Pot)
3

Chicken breasts can also be used - skin on and bone-in.

Tuscan Chicken - cooking pancetta until crispy
4

Remove chicken and cook pancetta until crisp.

Rosemary and cannellini beans in pressure cooker
5

Add beans and rosemary.

Cooking Tuscan Chicken
6

Nestle chicken back into the pot and cook.

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Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken with cannellini beans and kale on a serving dish

Tuscan Chicken with White Beans and Kale


Description

Tuscan Chicken with white beans and kale has tender meat that falls off the bone in a rich gravy flavored with pancetta, white beans, and rosemary. Cook this hearty one-pot meal in a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or stovetop—this recipe is inspired by America’s Test Kitchen Multi-Cooker Perfection Cookbook. Every recipe in the cookbook allows cooking with a multi-cooker or slow cooker, making the book a great resource. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs with skins, trimmed of extra fat, or 4 bone-in chicken breasts*
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces of pancetta or 2 bacon strips, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 23 (15-oz) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, or 4 cups SCD prepped Navy beans**
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, fresh
  • 12oz kale stemmed and coarsely chopped, optional
  • juice of 1 lemon if using kale, optional
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

1. Prepare Kale. If including kale, rinse and drain it in a salad spinner, and break it into small pieces. Discard any large thick stems. Place kale pieces in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Work salt and lemon juice into the leaves and massage for 1 minute. This process tenderizes the kale. Let it sit in the lemon juice while preparing the dish. Knead the leaves with your hands a few times.

2. Prepare chicken and cooking pot. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Add oil to the cooking vessel (multi-cooker, slow cooker, or Dutch oven and heat for a few minutes to get hot. Set the temperature to the highest sauté or browning function for multi-cooker and slow cooker.***

3. Cook Chicken. Place 4 seasoned thighs or two breasts skin side down and cook until browned, 5 – 7 minutes. Repeat with remaining chicken, and transfer to plate. You can remove and discard the skin at this point or keep it on the chicken if desired. You can remove it before eating if desired.

4. Add pancetta, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper to fat in the cooker until pancetta is crisp and browned for about 3 minutes.

5. Stir in beans, water, and rosemary sprigs.

6. Nestle browned chicken, skin side up, into the pan, and any accumulated juices on the plate.

• 6A) Pressure Cooker: Lock the lid and close the pressure release valve. Select the high-pressure cook function and set the time for 9 minutes. It will take a few minutes to get to the correct temperature, and then the 9-minute countdown begins. When the timer goes off, turn off the multi-cooker, turn the knob to a quick release, and release steam. Carefully remove the lid, allowing moisture to escape away from you.

• 6B) Standard Slow Cooker and Slow Cook with Multi-Cooker: Place lid on the cooker, select low heat, and cook until chicken is tender for 2- 3 hours. Carefully remove the lid, allowing steam to escape away from you. Note: If using Instant Pot slow cook, select the high slow cook function and increase cooking time to 4 to 5 hours.

• 6C) Stovetop: In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stockpot, bring ingredients to a boil on medium heat and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or the meat temperature reads 165º.

7. Transfer chicken to a serving platter and remove the skin, if desired. Add the chopped kale and lemon juice to the pot and cook for 3 minutes until wilted. Stir to incorporate any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add more water if needed. Discard the rosemary sprigs but allow leaves to remain.

8. Serve. Spoon the bean mixture around the chicken on the serving platter and top with chopped parsley.

 

Notes

 The recipe was updated on 10/15/22 to include stovetop cooking methods.

*The recipe calls for 8 chicken thighs, but I also use 4 bone-in chicken breasts. They both are delicious, but I prefer thighs. This recipe has generous portions, and the beans are very filling. It may serve more than four people, depending on the weight of the meat and the appetite. The nutritional information is based on bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.

** SCD followers – see recipe for Navy beans. Add beans into the pot in with kale in step 7. Beans must be made ahead.

***If your slow cooker does not have a browning function, do steps 2-4 in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, cast iron skillet, or Dutch oven, and then transfer ingredients to the slow cooker following with remaining steps.

Do you have picky eaters that do not want to eat around the bone? Remove meat from the bone after it has cooled a bit during step 3.

If using boneless thighs or boneless breasts, reduce cooking time. Pressure cooker 8 Minutes; Slower cooker 1.5 – 2 hours; Dutch oven – 15 minutes or until meat temperature reads 165º.

.

Keywords: Pressure Cooker, weeknight meal, cannellini beans, rosemary, Italian food, bone-in chicken thighs, SCD, Navy beans

Let me know your thoughts on this post!

13 responses to “Tuscan Chicken with White Beans and Kale”

  1. Loved this recipe and my cat did too! I used great Northern beans and light red kidney beans to substitute for the cannellini. Mom’s standard, old school Crockpot cooked the dish perfectly after 3 hours on high. It tastes even better the next day. My finicky cat Mandy woke up from a deep sleep to come sniff my lunch plate. She gobbled up tender, juicy pieces of thighs immediately after having walked away 30 minutes earlier from canned clams.

    • It is wonderful to learn the recipe is a success for the whole family. I love that you made substitutes for beans on hand.

  2. This looks yummy and would love to try it, but don’t have a pressure cooker. Can you give the directions for using a slow cooker?

  3. Nice, hearty dinner! I used skinless chicken thighs, so I don’t know if that affected the flavor or not. I did need a little more oil for browning them. I think next time I’ll use 4-6 thighs — 8 seems like a lot in proportion to the beans. I definitely have enough for a several meals.

    • Glad it was a hit. Looove the idea adding more beans to the current proportions. My son-in-law said the same thing. I added your suggestion to the recipe.

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