One day this winter, we were craving some good ole comfort food. So I surveyed our fresh ingredients…chicken thighs, green beans, mushrooms, spinach and a leek. A leek you say? Yes, I needed one for another recipe and got a bundle of three on our grocery order. Determined to somehow use the last lone leek, I placed it on the counter.
Next I skinned and cleaned the chicken thighs. Not sure where I was headed, I figured seasoning and browning them in some olive oil was a good start. Then I washed and chopped the leeks and some fresh garlic because garlic makes everything taste better!
Once the chicken thighs were browned on both sides, I removed them and added the leeks and garlic to the hot oil. As those sautéed, I surveyed my other ingredients…green beans and mushrooms were a yes so I got those prepped. As the leek garlic mixture sizzled, I added the chicken back into my Dutch oven with some chicken broth to deglaze all those tasty brown bits. I let that cook for about 10 minutes with the lid on and then added the green beans and mushrooms. At this point, things were moving along quite nicely.
As I surveyed the bubbling mixture of goodness, I decided the gravy needed to be creamy so in went the half and half. Taste test…think…more flavor? What about a lemon? Yes, that’s it. I added lemon juice, lemon zest and some ground garlic salt which led to even more flavorful bubbling goodness. Now all that was left to do was to make our easy Instant Pot mashed potatoes.
The word rustic describes food that is simple and inviting which is why I used it for this recipe. So the next time you have a few ingredients and no idea what to make for dinner, just improvise and see what happens…or make my Rustic Lemon Green Bean Chicken!
What’s at the root of this food? A comforting and delicious meal using fresh ingredients which is sure to please your family as much as it did mine!
Rustic Lemon Green Bean Chicken
- 5-6 chicken thighs
- Salt, pepper & garlic granules
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 leek
- 1 lb green beans
- 8 oz mushrooms
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1 cup half & half
- 2 T corn starch
- 1 lemon
- Garlic salt to taste
Remove skin and rinse chicken thighs. Pat dry and set on a plate; season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic granules; set aside. Prepare the other ingredients: peel and chop garlic; rinse and chop leeks, green beans and mushrooms; open can of chicken broth; add cornstarch to half & half and whisk to combine; zest lemon, then cut in half and juice. Set all of this aside.
Warm oil in deep pan or Dutch oven; add seasoned chicken thighs breast side down and brown for 3-5 minutes. Once slightly browned, turn over and repeat. Remove chicken from pan and add chopped leeks and garlic. While sautéing, add a drizzle of chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Stir for 1-2 minutes until the brown bits are combined with the broth.
Place browned chicken thighs on top of the leek/garlic mixture and add the rest of the chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium, cover pan and cook for 10 minutes. Add green beans and mushrooms, stir to combine and place chicken on top. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Add half & half/corn starch mixture, lemon juice, lemon zest and more salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Let this mixture simmer until slightly thickened. Chicken internal temperature should be 165º. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice or your favorite pasta.
Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
Peel and chop 6-8 medium russet potatoes. Place in Instant Pot liner. Add water just below the potatoes. Put the lid on the pot and set the valve to seal. Using the manual setting adjust timer to 8 minutes. Walk away and wait for the magic to happen. Once the timer goes off, release the steam valve, open the lid and drain the potatoes. Add 1/2-3/4 cup warm milk (based on desired creaminess), 1-2 T butter (based on desired fat content), salt, pepper, garlic granules and/or season salt to taste. Using a potato masher, squish, mash and stir those potatoes into creamy deliciousness. Easiest mashed potatoes ever!
• If you prefer less fat, use 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of the thighs. Be sure the chicken internal temperature is 165º.
• To prepare the leek, cut off the end, separate and rinse the dirt out of each layer, then slice. Although quite mild, leeks are in the onion family . If you don’t have a leek on hand, just use an onion which will provide more flavor. Simply peel, cut in half and slice thinly.
• Frozen green beans may be substituted if needed but fresh are always best!
• Chopped spinach could also be added to this dish.
• Top with some parmesan cheese for more flavor.
Note: Lemon and green bean photos courtesy of Google Photos.