Friday, September 24, 2010

Pantry Raid: Cantina Chicken and Black Bean-Rice Pilaf

A couple weeks ago, near the end of the groceries, my husband called and this exchange took place:

Him: "What's for dinner?"
Me: (frantically opening freezer) "Um mm....Chicken!"
Him: "Well what are you doing to it?"
Me: (rifling through fridge and pantry) " Oh, you know...marinate...spicy...with a um mm...rice dish...."
Him: "Sounds great, babe.)

This is the upside of being a cooking nerd. I spend much of my downtime reading cookbooks. Yes, reading them - for fun. And I always have interesting ingredients and leftover stragglers around. I can work with what I've got (within reason). And now I've gotten into the habit of writing down and photographing some of my more successful concoctions. Here's the result of that phone conversation.

Cantina Chicken with Black Bean-Rice Pilaf

How did this baby come to be? First the chicken:

1-2  canned Chipotles in adobo (depending on how spicy you want it)
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 small white onion

combine all this goodness in a food processor or mini chopper or just chop it all up by hand as small as you can. Scrape it all into a large non-reactive bowl and add:

1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon each cumin, salt, pepper
1/2 can of beer (drink the rest while you're cooking. Also, all we had in the house was Busch Light. Use what you have...)

Now, because this was just dinner for 2, I used two bone-in chicken breasts, but this is enough marinade for 4. Anyway, loosen the skin (so the flavor can get under there) and toss them around in the marinade. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Not a whole lot longer, because the acidity of the marinade will start to "cook" the chicken. Preheat your oven to 400.

spicy goodness...
 Bake the chicken for about 30-40 minutes, till the juices run clear and the skin is delightfully crispy and the house smells awesome. While the chicken bakes, make the rice.

1 small white onion
2 cloves garlic
1 Serrano chile, seeded

mince all this up...

heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan and throw in a pinch of ground turmeric for a nice golden color (if you have it). Add the garlic, onion, and chile and sauteed a few minutes to soften. Then add 1 1/2 cups long grain rice and stir it around to coat with the oil. Follow it up with 3 cups of chicken broth (at this point I added about 2 cups of fresh baby spinach, but that's optional). Bring up to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer without stirring for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Then stir in 1 can black beans that have been drained and rinsed (the heat from the rice will warm the beans through). By now your chicken should be done!

All that's left to do is plate it up. I topped mine with some chopped fresh green onion and tomato. If I'd had some avocado I would have added that too, but then I would also bathe in guacamole if I could.

Here's the finished product again- hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
tootin' my own horn- it was so yummy! TOOT TOOT!!

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