A Mood-Boosting Chicken and Cannellini Bean Stew
For many people, especially those with anxiety or mood disorders, winter can be the toughest time of the year. Days are short, and what precious hours of daylight do exist are grey, cold and wet. If the winter blues are putting a damper on your mood, motivation and overall life-outlook, you might feel powerless to change things; after all, you can’t exactly control the weather. You can, however, control your diet, which is just about the most powerful tool you have in staving off the winter doldrums. Where winter saps, drains and saddens, a nutritionally-packed diet warms, fuels and reinvigorates.
Looking for some inspiration for recipes to brighten your cold winter nights? Here’s a hearty, healthy chicken and cannellini bean stew that’s delicious, nutrient-rich and loaded with essential vitamins.
Chicken and Cannellini Bean Stew With Carrots and Leeks
This simple stew is as tasty as it is nutritionally-fortifying. With carrots, leeks, beans and chicken as key ingredients, a portion of this will load your body up with enough protein, fibre, essential vitamins and minerals to see you through even the dreariest winter nights.
Carrots, found in the dish, are rich in the pigment beta carotene, which is both converted into vitamin A and provides a strong antioxidant effect. It’s also bursting with fibre, vitamin K1 (which aids blood clotting) and potassium (which helps the body flush our waste and aids heart health).
The leeks which, along with garlic, form the base of this stew provide vitamins A, C and K. Vitamin A helps strengthen the immune system, vitamin C protects the body’s cells (and prevents scurvy) and—as mentioned—vitamin K aids blood clotting.
Both the beans and chicken pack a protein punch, and the chicken thighs serve as a great source of essential fats. Plus, beans—often labelled as a superfood—also boast bucketloads of fibre, potassium and iron; they’re even linked to reducing blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
2-3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (or equally heart-healthy oil)
Skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into small chunks or slices
Leeks, finely sliced
2 cans of cannellini beans
1.4 litres of chicken stock
1 tbsp of fresh thyme or ¾ tsp of dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix the garlic and leeks in a large pot with olive oil on a low heat until the leeks have sweated down.
2. Add the carrots and chicken. Cook for a further few minutes.
3. Pour in the chicken stock; add the thyme, salt and pepper.
4. Turn up the heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
5. Cook until the carrots are soft and the chicken is cooked through (around 30-40 minutes approximately).
6. Drain the beans and add to the stew. Cook for a further few minutes until simmering again.
7. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
8.Serve up with potatoes or bread and enjoy.
There’s nothing like a hearty stew to liven the spirits and keep the body in tip-top shape. This stew in particular is loaded with goodness and a myriad of mood-boosting benefits. Remember, good food is your greatest weapon against winter blues. Make the most of it!