Monday, April 28, 2008

With some fava beans...

...and a nice Chianti.

Well, I subbed in chardonnay, because that was what I had on hand, but we did have the fava beans. First time I have ever tried them, and you know what? They tasted a lot like lima or butter beans…just browner, if that makes sense.

I had this can of them knocking around in the pantry, just waiting for the perfect dish, and seeing as how I hate liver, it wasn’t going to be that dish.

I decided to use the fava beans along with some canellini (white kidney) beans in this recipe--Tuscan-Style Chicken with Italian Sautéed Beans, which I swiped from the Publix Aprons recipes and made a few minor adjustments.

Tuscan-Style Chicken


4 boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded to an even thickness.
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 bag fresh baby spinach leaves (5–6 oz)
1 cup fresh pre-sliced mushrooms (rinsed)
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes (undrained)
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place chicken between 2 pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap and gently pound to an even thickness.

2. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.

3. Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Arrange chicken in pan; cook 3–4 minutes on one side or until lightly browned.

4. Remove chicken to an ovenproof dish and place in oven to finish cooking. Sauté mushrooms until browned, and add remaining ingredients to pan (except cheese). Cover and cook 4–5 minutes or until spinach wilts. Meanwhile, slice mozzarella thinly.

5. Add chicken back to pan, and remove pan from heat. Top chicken with cheese slices; cover and let stand 2–3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Italian Sautéed Beans


1/2 cup roasted red peppers
5 fresh garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 (19-ounce) cans cannellini beans (drained and rinsed), (or a combination of beans—white and dark red kidney or fava)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 fresh basil leaves (rinsed)


1. Cut peppers into 1/4-inch slices. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Chop garlic coarsely.

2. Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic, peppers, and remaining ingredients (except basil); cook 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until beans are thoroughly heated. While beans cook, stack basil leaves and roll tightly; slice thinly into fine ribbons (chiffonade).

3. Stir in basil; cook 1–2 more minutes or until fragrant. Serve.

The original recipe called for using chicken cutlets and sort of cooking the chicken and other ingredients all together. I had the breasts on hand, so I pounded them out, but I still felt they were too thick to completely cook in the pan...possible pan overcrowding, but hey, why not use the oven to finish? It wasn't busy...

This dish also got better the next day, because we had it for leftovers with a salad, plus I had a portion the day after that for lunch. The flavors really melded together well, and even though I'm not a big lima bean fan, the favas weren't bad. And, you know you've always been curious about them since you saw Silence of the Lambs. I thought this was an interesting tidbit from the SotL Trivia section on IMDB:

Note Lecter's mention of having consumed a victim's liver with, specifically, fava beans and chianti. Liver, fava beans, and wine all contain a substance called tyramine, which can kill you if you're talking a certain class of antidepressant drugs known as MAO inhibitors. MAO inhibitors were the first antidepressant drugs developed, and were used primarily on patients in mental institutions... and Lecter both worked in, and was committed to, a mental institution.

Nothing like eating things that can kill you, or at least drive you crazy. All the creepy stuff aside, try this dish--it's quick and tasty, and best of all, it can be served to census takers!

“I do wish we could blog longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner.”

1 comment:

LinC said...

I've never served fava beans, but I did get Josepi to eat lima beans. Once. The Tuscan Chicken recipe sounds excellent! Will add it to my dinner rotation.