Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Black Bean, Chicken & Rice Bowl with Apple Salsa

Years ago - pre-kids years ago, when I lived in Brooklyn and had vegetarian eating habits - this was the kind of meal I subsisted on. Yes, I know this isn't a vegetarian recipe - but minus the chicken {and chicken stock} this was the kind of meal I made quite frequently. I was really into the whole idea of a "bowl" type meal. For one, it's cheap! Two, it's easy to make and the leftovers can be used for the following day's bagged work lunch, or another night's dinner. The perfect college girl meal.
It seems like an eternity since I've made a dinner like this and seeing it in the current issue of Bon Appétit made me crave one. I had also just discovered my new favorite way to prepare brown rice, so the timing was perfect.
What makes this recipe unlike many bean and rice "bowl" recipes out there is the apple salsa you serve along with it. I love that it uses Granny Smith apples because they're commonly available throughout the year - so any time is a good time to make some. The tart apples, paired with a bit of tangy lime juice, a kick from the minced red onions along with the brightness of fresh cilantro is a perfect flavor combination. Especially when combined with mildly spicy and slightly smoky black beans.
This recipe is very well fit for being adapted. So - I encourage you to adjust the ingredients or quantities to suit your families tastes - or to possibly use up any leftover bits of this or that you may have hanging around inside your refrigerator. I, myself, adjusted the original recipe quite a bit - adding in some minced jalapeno pepper, for just a touch of heat and changing some of the quantities to suit my taste. I decided to 'press' the garlic, rather than mince it because I have this wonderful {super high quality & well designed} garlic press that does an amazing job {and yes, it is worth spending $40 on}.
When you mince garlic, much of the 'juice' from inside the cloves ends up on your cutting board - but with this tool, every last bit of garlicky goodness ends up in whatever you're preparing.

If you like this recipe, you might also like these posts - Havana Black Beans | Lentil & Bulgur Salad | Perfect Brown Rice

Black Bean, Chicken & Rice Bowl with Apple Salsa

Adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2012
Serves 4
The real stars in this dish are the black beans and apple salsa. The beans are perfectly seasoned and just get better as they sit - making them a perfect make ahead option. The apple salsa goes so brilliantly well with the spiciness of the beans and really should not be omitted. This recipe can easily be adapted for a vegetarian by substituting another protein, such as tofu or tempeh, or simply serving the beans, rice and salsa as is - just substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. For the rice, any leftover cooked rice will do - you can substitute white rice if that's what you have available, but personally, I love the brown rice here. I used the breast meat from a rotisserie chicken but you can also poach or grill some chicken breast, if desired.

2 granny smith apples {peeled & diced}
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion {divided}
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced {for more heat leave the ribs & seeds in}
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon cumin seed
3 cups chicken broth
2 {15 ounce} cans black beans, rinsed & drained
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1. Apple Salsa - add the apples, cilantro, 2 tablespoons of the red onion, lime juice and a pinch of kosher salt to a small mixing bowl. Toss to combine and set aside until ready to serve. Note: the addition of lime juice will prevent the apples from discoloring - therefore, the salsa can be made many hours ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.
2. Black Beans - add the vegetable oil, bell pepper, jalapeno and the remaining 2 tablespoons of red onion to a skillet, or saucepan. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until softened - about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, coriander and cumin seeds - continue to cook for an additional few minutes, stirring constantly, so the spices don't burn. Add the chicken broth and beans, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. While the mixture is simmering mash some of the beans with the back of a wooden spoon - this helps thicken the mixture. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
3. Assemble - Arrange the brown rice, shredded chicken and black beans in a bowl. Garnish the top with some of the apple salsa and serve.
Make Ahead: All of the elements of this dish can be made well ahead of time and even last for days as leftovers in the fridge. Chill, in individual airtight containers, and assemble just before serving. This makes a great to-go lunch too!

Click here for the printable recipe.


Joanne said...

Even though I AM totally a vegetarian, I bookmarked this recipe in BA. It sounded super intriguing and I'm sure I can veg-ify it. I'm so glad it was kate-approved!

SkinnyMommy said...

This looks great and so refreshing!

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