Gallery: The Food Lab: Crispy Braised Chicken With White Beans and Chile Verde

The Dish
The Dish

Nothing says comfort like chicken and beans. To begin, soak beans overnight in salted water and cook them the next day in chicken stock with a bay leaf until nearly tender. Drain the beans and reserve the liquid.

Step 1: Roast Chiles
Step 1: Roast Chiles

Roast Anaheim chiles directly over a gas burner, under the broiler, or on a grill until charred all over.

Step 2: Steam Chiles
Step 2: Steam Chiles

Place the hot chiles in a covered bowl or in a sealed paper bag to steam until tehs kins are loosened.

Step 3: Let Them Cool
Step 3: Let Them Cool

Let the steamed chiles cool enough to handle.

Step 4: Start Peeling
Step 4: Start Peeling

Submerge the chiles in the beans' cooking liquid and peel them, placing the flesh on a cutting board and leaving the skins and seeds in the liquid.

Step 5: The
Step 5: The "Tea"

You'll be left with a chile "tea" as the roasted skins steep in the liquid.

Step 6: Strain the Tea
Step 6: Strain the Tea

Strain the chile tea and discard the skins and seeds.

Step 7: Season Chicken
Step 7: Season Chicken

Season chicken legs liberally with salt and pepper.

Step 8: Brown Chicken
Step 8: Brown Chicken

Place the chicken in a hot skillet with a bit of oil and cook without moving until well browned on the first side.

Step 9: Brown Second Side
Step 9: Brown Second Side

Flip the chicken and let the second side brown lightly.

Step 10: Sauté Onions and Garlic
Step 10: Sauté Onions and Garlic

Remove the chicken and add some sliced onions and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring them and releasing the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Step 11: Toast Spices
Step 11: Toast Spices

When the onions are softened, add some powdered cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, just until their aroma is released.

Step 12: Add Tea
Step 12: Add Tea

Return the chile soaking liquid to the skillet and stir everything to combine.

Step 13: Add Chiles, Lime, and Cilantro
Step 13: Add Chiles, Lime, and Cilantro

Add the chopped chiles, some lime juice, and cilantro to the mix and stir it all together.

Step 14: Puree Sauce
Step 14: Puree Sauce

Purée the sauce with a blender, hand blender, or a food processor, leaving it nice and chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 15: Add Beans
Step 15: Add Beans

Add the par-cooked beans and the chile sauce back to the pan.

Step 16: Nestle the Chicken
Step 16: Nestle the Chicken

Nestle that chicken back into the beans and sauce all comfy-like, then transfer the whole thing to a hot oven to finish cooking through.

Step 17: Almost There!
Step 17: Almost There!

It should come out looking something like this, with the browned chicken skin floating above a rich sea of sauce and beans.

Step 18: Remove the Chicken
Step 18: Remove the Chicken

Take the chicken out of the pan and set it aside for plating. If your beans need any last minute seasoning, now would be a good time to do it.

Step 19: Don't Forget to Taste!
Step 19: Don't Forget to Taste!

Through a combination of chicken broth, seasoned chicken, and salted soaking water, your beans should be plenty salty by now, but always taste before you serve! Salt, black pepper, and lime juice are all things to consider adding at this point.

Step 20: Serve
Step 20: Serve

Return the chicken to the pan for serving.

Step 21: Eat!
Step 21: Eat!

Ready for dinner. Your friends and family will thank you, trust me on this one.