Look, I know this isn’t a chicken fundamental, in that it uses a rotisserie chicken and we don’t even make that in this book. But chicken and beans are so entwined in my mind that I couldn’t let the book be published without this recipe. It’s an awesome way to hydrate a bag of what are essentially rocks with super-concentrated chicken flavor, and to me, it’s what cooking with chicken is all about: transforming seemingly boring ingredients, like dried beans, into a finished pot of food that transcends what you started with. But also I just really like beans.
- Pull all the meat off the chicken and put all of your meat and scraps, including the skin and bones, into a pot or pressure cooker. Pour the water over the bones, bring to a boil over high heat, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, making sure to add water occasionally to maintain the starting level of 6 cups.
- While the stock is cooking, peel and chop the onion and carrot into 1⁄2-inch pieces, chop the cilantro, and watch the first half of Casablanca. You’re done chopping and the problems of three little chickens don’t amount to a pot of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.
- When the stock is awesome, strain it and reserve the shredded chicken. Return the strained stock to the same pot (you should have about 6 cups), and add the beans and salt. Bring the beans up to a boil, turn the heat to low, and cover.
- As the beans cook and absorb the stock, add a little bit of water to maintain the level of liquid that you started with. Once the beans are almost cooked (between 1 and 2 hours), add the onion and carrot and either start to reduce the broth to ever so slightly thicken the sauce, or mash some of the beans to more substantially thicken it. I like both options, but if you go with the first, don’t reduce too much so you keep the beans super saucy. Once your beans are properly creamy and amazing (even if some of them have fallen apart), take the pot off the heat and add the reserved shredded chicken, cilantro, and butter. Serve the stew with some bread or rice to soak up the broth, a lime wedge to squeeze over it all, and some hot sauce, because hot sauce is usually the best idea.