Red Chile Chicken and Rice with Black Beans

Arroz con Pollo Rojo y Frijoles Negros
Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • Salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground ancho chile powder (available from national companies like McCormick, Mexican groceries and internet sites), divided use
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 cup rice
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained (rinsing will keep them from making the rice sticky) OR 1 ¾ cups home-cooked black beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, roots and wilted outer leaves removed before chopping OR 1/3 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 to 1 cup salsa (I like Smoky Chipotle Salsa) or chipotle hot sauce for serving

Instructions

Heat the oil in a medium-large (5- to 6-quart) saucepan over medium-high.  Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts first with salt, then with 1 tablespoon of the ground ancho chile.  Lay them into the hot oil in a single layer.  When browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes, flip them over and brown the other side (another 2 to 3 minutes). Remove to a plate to cool, leaving behind as much oil as possible.

Add the onions and rice to the pan.  Stir for several minutes until the rice turns from translucent to opaque. Add the garlic and remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of the ground ancho chile, cook 1 minute, then add the broth and 1 teaspoon salt (a little less if using salty broth).  Stir well.  When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot.  Cook for 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch cubes.  Uncover the pan and add the chicken and rinsed beans.  Re-cover and cook 12 minutes longer.

Uncover, sprinkle on the green onions (or herbs) and test a kernel of rice:  It should be have no more than a hint of chalkiness in the center; if it does, set over the heat for another 5 minutes or so.  Otherwise, simply re-cover the pot and let stand off the heat for 5 to 10 minutes to finish the cooking with its own trapped steam. Fluff the rice mixture and serve with the salsa for each person to spoon on al gusto.

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