Hello! I just got back from an extremely restful, yet indulgent, beach vacation. The sea was beautiful, but the food and drinks were even better. I have to admit, my friends are far better cooks than I am, and they went all out on our vacation. After a week of eating and drinking with abandon, I was ready to cook some simple and good for me food. These Creole White Beans with Chicken were the perfect fix.
I decided on beans and rice because it’s easy, filling, inexpensive, and I always just feel good after eating beans and grains. For this recipe I added some chicken thighs for extra protein (because I’ve been killin’ it with my Daily Burn workouts), but you could actually skip the chicken and make this totally vegan if you wanted. I tossed in a lot of vegetables for color, flavor, and more “feel good” power. I kept the seasoning simple by using Zatarain’s Creole seasoning blend, plus a couple extra herbs and spices for more oomph. If you can’t find Zatarain’s where you’re at, look for other Cajun or Creole seasoning blends like Tony Chachere’s, or use a recipe like Emeril’s to make your own. If you make your own, just be aware that the store bought blends contain a decent amount of salt and you’ll need to add salt to your beans after cooking to compensate.
The recipe and price break down below is just for the Creole White Beans with Chicken. In Louisiana we put everything over rice, but this could actually just be eaten like a bowl of chili (sans rice) if you wanted. Think of it like a Creole White Bean Chicken Chili. Yeah!
Creole White Beans with Chicken
- 1 lb navy beans (dry) ($1.79)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
- 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
- 1 yellow onion ($0.37)
- 4 stalks celery ($0.79)
- 2 green bell peppers ($1.76)
- 1 red bell pepper ($1.79)
- 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley ($0.39)
- 4 skinless chicken thighs (bone-in or boneless) ($3.48)
- 2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning blend ($0.60)
- 1 tsp oregano ($0.10)
- 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika ($0.15)
- freshly cracked pepper ($0.05)
- 6 cups water ($0.00)
- Place the beans in a large pot and cover with water. Soak the beans overnight in the refrigerator OR, place the beans in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for one minute, turn the heat off and let the beans sit, covered, for one hour. Drain the beans in a colander.
- Mince the garlic and dice the onion, celery, and bell peppers. Pull the parsley leaves from the stems and give them a rough chop.
- Add the olive oil, garlic, and onion to a large pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions begin to turn transparent (3-5 minutes). Add the celery and bell peppers and sauté a few minutes more, or just until they begin to soften.
- Remove the skin from the chicken thighs (if they came with skin) and trim the excess fat if desired. Nestle the chicken thighs down into the sautéed vegetables.
- Add the soaked beans, a handful of the parsley (the rest will be used later), Creole seasoning, oregano, smoked paprika, some cracked pepper, and six cups of water. Stir gently to distribute the spices, but not to disturb the thighs.
- Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for two hours. Make sure the pot is simmering the whole time, increasing the heat slightly if needed to help it maintain a simmer.
- After two hours, test the beans to make sure they are soft. Remove the chicken thighs and use two forks to shred the meat and remove the bones (if using bone-in thighs).
- Use a large wooden spoon to smash the beans against the side of the pot to help the liquid thicken. Taste the beans and adjust the salt or Creole seasoning if desired. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and top with fresh parsley. Serve alone or over a bed of rice.
Creole White Beans with Chicken
Step by Step Photos
Presoak one pound of navy beans overnight, or use the quick soak method. To do a “quick soak”, place the beans in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the beans to a full boil over high heat. Boil for one minute, then turn the heat off and let them sit, covered, for one hour.
After they’ve soaked, drain the beans in a colander.
During the last 15 minutes or so of the “quick soak”, start chopping the vegetables. Mince four cloves of garlic and dice one onion, two green bell peppers, one red bell pepper, and four stalks of celery. Pull the leaves from 1/2 a bunch of flat leaf parsley and give them a rough chop.
Sauté the garlic and onions in a large pot with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions begin to look transparent. I used the same pot that I used for the “quick soak”, so I wouldn’t dirty any more dishes.
Add the celery and bell peppers to the pot and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or just until they begin to soften.
Add four skinless chicken thighs to the pot. They can be bone-in or boneless. Bones will provide a bit more flavor, but the bones will need to be removed later. You can take the time to remove the excess fat if desired, but I left mine on. I’m lazy and I kind of like the flavor of chicken fat.
Add the soaked beans and a handful of the chopped parsley (the rest will be added after cooking). Also add 2 Tbsp Creole seasoning, 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp oregano, and some freshly cracked pepper.
This is the Creole Seasoning that I used. Zatarain’s has a pretty good national distribution, but if you can’t find it look for Tony Cachere’s or another Creole seasoning blend. Or, you can make your own if you have a well stocked spice cabinet. Here is Emeril’s recipe for Creole seasoning. These tend to contain quite a bit of salt, so I didn’t need to add any extra. If yours does not contain salt, you’ll need to add salt after cooking to really amp up the flavor.
Add six cups of water and give it a gentle stir to distribute the spices. You can use a low sodium chicken broth here for more flavor, but I wouldn’t suggest using a regular broth because the Creole seasoning contains quite a bit of salt on its own and you could quickly cross that threshold of too much salt.
Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for two hours. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time, adjusting the heat if needed. After two hours, test the beans to make sure they’re soft enough to mash (people living in areas with hard water may find it takes longer). This is what my pot looked like after two hours of simmering.
Use tongs to pull the chicken out of the pot and pull the meat off the bone (two forks works well). Toss the bones and gristle. While the meat is out of the pot, use a large wooden spoon to mash the beans against the side of the pot. This will thicken the liquid. If you still find it too thin, you can continue to let it simmer without a lid to help it thicken a bit. Taste the beans and adjust the salt or Creole seasoning if needed.
Add the pulled chicken back to the pot and top with some of the leftover fresh parsley.
You can serve the Creole White Beans over rice (because beans n’ rice are made for each other) or just eat it like a bowl of chili. Mmm, maybe with some crushed up crackers! This made about 12 cups, so depending on how it’s served, up to 12 servings. And yes, it freezes quite well! :)