Red Chili Chicken and Rice

Monday I posted about Pioneer Woman’s delicious salsa, so today I will post a recipe that I served to go with the salsa (wait, shouldn’t it be the other way around?!)
I first saw this Rick Bayless recipe on Elly’s blog. Rick Bayless is a celebrity in Chicago, and most Chicagoans are proud to have such a talented and decorated chef practice his craft here. I’ve been to Frontera several times, on one visit Rick was there meeting with the staff. I’ve also been to his Mexican street food restaurant XOCO, and he happened to be there quality control taste-testing the drinks! I’d love to try Topolobampo sometime. Last time I called they were booked for 6 weeks!
I quickly bookmarked this recipe when Elly posted it, and then I saw that Annie recommended it as well, so I knew I’d love it. It’s been on my ‘to make’ list for a long time, but for some reason I kept moving it. I finally realized I had all the ingredients one night and went for it – it’s fabulous!!! I have a weird relationship with black beans, so I left them out. The ingredient list is simple, but the components combine together perfectly to make a very tasty dish. If you want to make this a little less healthier, you could even top it with some cheese and sour cream – not sure what Mr. Bayless would say about that, but he’ll never know!
Red Chile Chicken and Rice
Serves 2
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/4 Tablespoons ancho chili powder, divided*
1/2 medium onion, large dice
1/2 cup rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken broth
7.5 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
2 Tablespoons chopped green onions, roots and wilted outer leaves removed before chopping
salsa, for serving
*I only had regular “chili powder” and did some Googling but couldn’t find a definitive answer as to what types of chiles are in it . . . so I just used it and it was great.
1. Heat the oil in a medium heavy pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt and 1/2 Tablespoon of the ancho chili powder. Place chicken in the hot oil and brown on each side, 2 – 3 minutes. Remove to a place, leaving behind as much oil as possible.
2. Add the onion and rice to the pot. Stir for several minutes, until the rice turns from translucent to opaque. Add the garlic and the remaining 3/4 Tablespoon ancho chili powder. Cook one minute, and then add the broth and salt to taste. Stir well.
3. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Cut the chicken breast into 1″ pieces. Add them to the pot along with the beans, if using. Recover and cook 12 minutes longer.
5. Sprinkle the green onions and test a kernel of rice. It should have no more than a hint of chalkiness in the center, in which case you place the cover back on, remove it from the heat and let stand 5 – 10 minutes. If it’s not cooked, cook for another 5 minutes or so (at this point I added a tad more chicken broth because I think my pan was too big and the added surface area caused more of the liquid to evaporate; if you use the right size pan this should be fine).
6. Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve with salsa.
Source: Adapted from Elly Says Opa!, also featured on Annie’s Eats, originally from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

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