Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Southwest Chicken and Rice: One-Pot Version

So the bad news is that I'm still waiting for my cord for my camera to come in so I can actually use it. The good news is that we I tried making another recipe and it was a success! This recipe came from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and is one that LSH said he would be interested in when I showed it to him. This blog is definitely worth checking out. I've tried several recipes and they have all been great! This chicken and rice dish was described by LSH as a Mexican stew. It is a very mushy chicken and rice dish but it is pretty good and flavorful and definitely lends itself to variations. It's also got some good nutritional value which is a bonus. This isn't typically my type of dish (I was planning to make Coconut Curry Soup for dinner, but LSH had a change of stomach...some other time this week though) but I actually really like this. As long as you are OK with a mushyish texture and you like typical southwest flavors, you will enjoy it. It's also great because it is a one-pot meal. Everything is cooked in one pot which cuts down on dishes and ups the flavor. A meal that comes together pretty quickly, requires little effort, has nutritional value, and tastes good? Sounds perfect to me!
Edit: Made this again tonight and now I have pictures to go with it!

Serves 4-6
Total Time: 45 minutes
3-4 boneless chicken breasts (2ish lbs)
Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil
1 yellow onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp - 1 tsp cumin (LSH isn't a huge cumin fan so this is cut down for us)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (we like a little heat :D)
1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
4 cups chicken broth
1 15 oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen corn (more or less)
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
4 oz cheese (we used monterey and colby jack cheeses)
Fresh cilantro (optional: we didn't use it)

Start by patting the chicken dry and seasoning the breasts with a little salt and pepper and cayenne (if desired). In a large pot (choose the right size because you will be cooking this whole dish in it) and coat the bottom with olive oil. When oil is shimmering, put in the chicken breasts. Let them cook about 3-5 minutes on each side to get some color on them. You don't want them to fully cook in this step. When both sides are browned, remove the chicken and set it aside.

Throw the onion into the remaining oil and stir it around with a dash of salt. Cook it on medium heat until tender, stirring to mix in any browned bits from the pan. Stir in the garlic, cumin, chile powder, and cayenne pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30ish seconds.

Next mix in the rice. Once the edges of the rice are starting to look translucent (as much as you can tell through the delicious coating of spices) add in the 4 cups of chicken broth (or 4 cups of water and 4 bouillon cubes if you are like me). Stir in the broth and bring the pot to a simmer.

Once simmering, add in the chicken breasts. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through. It takes about 20-25 minutes. After about 15-20 minutes, add in the bell pepper. You can time this addition by how crispy you want the pepper to stay. Give the mixture a stir everyone in a while. I time it with my stomach growls...

Once everything is cooked, remove the chicken and do what you want with it. The original recipe says to leave it whole and serve the rice on the side. I shredded the chicken and returned it to the pot which was delicious. It's up to you. With the chicken removed, stir in the black beans and the corn. Once they are warmed, stir in the cheese and keep stirring until it gets that gooey, mushy, melty appearance...that's how you know it's ready. At this point you can add your chicken back in and spoon it into a bowl, or you can scoop some rice on a plate next to the chicken as a side. Top it with whatever your heart desires. We went with salsa for that extra layer of flavor. I would definitely recommend that.

This is all there is to this recipe. It may seem involved, but it's not. Chop everything ahead of time and this meal comes together in no time.

Original post from Mels Kitchen Cafe at

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