I love chicken and rice. It is my go-to comfort food and probably the meal that would be most likely to show up in our weekly rotation when the kids were growing up. And while there is nothing wrong with a basic roasted while chicken, with some carrots and onions nestling the bird and using the juice (let’s be honest… the grease) to flavor the rice. But over the years, I have begun to shake things up and make different variations of chicken and rice. And when one of those variations also entails cooking everything in the same pot, so you are able to throw a bunch of flavorful ingredients in with the chicken and rice and cook it all together, you have yourself a winner.
This is again from the NYT Cooking site, by Margaux Laskey, and the leftovers were even tastier the next day because the rice and beans had soaked up even more of the spices and chiles. And the addition of the black beans makes it a heartier and more interesting dish. I prefer to cook my own black beans, starting with dry beans rather than a can, because I like there to be a little bite to them and I find the canned beans too mushy. Making your own beans also allows you to make a whole separate meal out of the leftover beans, which we like to serve with pickled onions, chopped cilantro, avocado, sour cream, cheese and – the winning topper – Fritos corn chips!
I have included my (actually Ree Drummond’s) black beans recipe earlier, with my Mexican feast recipes, but here it is again so you don’t have to hunt it down.
1 pound dried black beans
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder, plus more if needed
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
For the beans: Place the beans in a bowl or pot, cover with cold water and allow to soak overnight. Drain and rinse before proceeding. (Alternatively, add the beans to a medium pot and cover with hot water. Bring to a boil, and then boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow the beans to sit for 1 hour. Drain the beans and rinse them with cold water before proceeding
In a medium pot, add the soaked beans, chicken broth, 2 cups water, the garlic, onions and green, red and yellow bell peppers. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Then add the chile powder, cumin and salt and stir. Cover and continue simmering until the liquid level is to your liking, about another hour. Taste for seasoning and add more of what it needs.
And here is the chicken and rice recipe that is a new winner in our house:
One-Pot Chicken Thighs With Black Beans, Rice and Chiles
by Margaux Laskey
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or peanut oil
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
2 green or red bell peppers, halved, seeded and sliced
2 ½ cups chicken stock
2 red Fresno chiles or jalapeños, halved, seeded and chopped
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken in half
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
⅓ pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed in a sieve until the water runs clear
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
Lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and sliced avocado, for serving
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (the pan size is very important) over medium-high.
Brown the chicken on both sides to give it good color, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion and bell peppers to the pan and sauté until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Meanwhile, add the Fresno chiles or jalapeños, cinnamon, garlic and cumin to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the black beans and cherry tomatoes.
Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the rice on top in an even layer. (It’s important that the black beans are beneath the rice and chicken. The rice will burn otherwise.) Add the stock and return the chicken to the pan, skin-side up.
Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. The chicken should be lovely and golden, the stock should be absorbed and the rice should be tender. Sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve with lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and avocado (squeeze some lime juice over the avocados in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper).