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Braised Chicken and Beans with Mint Pesto

Some cold-weather Sunday afternoons long for something slowly cooking in the oven, filling the house with the aromas of the goodness to come. This recipe is that: complete comfort food. Scented with lemon and thyme, everything cooks in one big pot rendering the beans soft and the chicken succulent. Serve in warmed bowls with the pesto on the side.

Braised Chicken and Beans with Mint Pesto

2 tbs. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
14 oz. tin of cannellini beans
2 lemons, zest and juice
9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
chicken stock
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3½ oz. fresh mint leaves (about ½ cup packed)
1 oz. sliced almonds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ cup olive oil, more if necessary

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Heat the oil in a large oven-proof casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring, until translucent. Add the beans, season, and stir to coat. Stir in half the lemon zest and juice.

Season the chicken and place the pieces on top of the beans. Add enough chicken stock to cover the beans, so it comes up just below the chicken. Add the thyme, bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven.

Cook for 1½ hours. Remove the thyme to serve, and stir in remaining lemon juice and zest.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by placing the mint, almonds, and garlic in a food processor. Chop, then drizzle in the oil to make a thin paste. Season to taste.

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