Faux Mexican Chicken Stew with Rice & Beans

I have to apologise to people with a preference for savoury dishes as there have been a lot of desserts and cakes recently. Thing is, on top of being a very sweet tooth myself (which doesn’t help), December is a really cold month which calls for comfort food. And for me, comfort equals chocolate, which in turn takes the shape of a cake/biscuit/dessert. Christmas being round the corner also clearly doesn’t help…

Anyway, this time we’re down to cooking. I called it ‘faux’ chicken stew because I found it on a cooking magazine as a chicken stew, but due to the shorter cooking time it can’t be quite considered as such. I have also slightly changed it, so mine wouldn’t necessarily be *that* chicken stew anyway. It’s a really rich and dark chicken pot, if you wish, with plenty of peppers and smoky flavour. I served it with rice and beans, but you can just as easily leave those out or substitute them with mashed potatoes, a salad or some roasted vegetables. One last note: you really need the lime to cut through all that richness and tomatoes. Lemon juice wouldn’t quite work here, but be free to give it a go.

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Ingredients (for the chicken pot)

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red & 1 yellow peppers, chopped into large chunks
  • 4 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper

Ingredients (for the rice and beans)

  • 150g basmati rice
  • 1 x 400g tin red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • black pepper

Method

  1. Heat some olive oil in a deep frying pan, then tumble in the onion and peppers. Cook until softened. Stir in the chipotle paste and continue cooking for another minute.
  2. Now add the tomatoes, then fill half a can with water and pour that in too. Lay the chicken breasts on top of the sauce and push them right into the mixture with a wooden spoon. Gently simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pan with some tongs, then use two forks to pull the meat apart. Tumble the chicken shreds back into the pan, then add the sugar, Worcestershire sauce and season well. Leave to cook for another 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  4. In the meantime, bring a small pan filled with water to the boil, then tumble in the rice and cook for about 15 minutes, until just right. Keep stirring to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Towards the end of the cooking time, stir in the beans and give them a quick stir, just to warm them through. Drain the rice and beans, then tumble into a bowl. Add the rice, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove the chicken pot from the heat, sprinkle some coriander on top and some lemon juice, then serve and enjoy.

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