Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oops! Really Spicy Chicken with Rice & Beans

I enjoy spicy foods, especially those that use unique spices to create a rich flavor to the dish. This recipe had the potential to be fantastic, but my lack of knowledge of the degree of heat of the spices I had available really ruined this dish for me. For some reason, I have had a really tough time finding ancho chile pepper at most of my local grocery stores (and I live in California, for Pete's sake!). I thought that Chipotle Chile Powder would be an okay substitute and didn't look into the relative Scoville scale heat index for each. Little did I know, my chosen substitute was 5X hotter than the original ingredient! Thank goodness my husband was hungry after his ride and ate a bunch of this dish. I could only eat about a third of my plate, it was so hot! However, both of us kept saying, "When my mouth cools off enough to taste something, I enjoy the flavors of this dish!" I finally found Ancho Chile Pepper at a seldom visited grocery store, and I really look forward to making this again!

Red Chile Chicken & Rice with Black Beans (from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless via Elly Says Opa)

2 Tbsp. canola oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1.25-1.5 lbs. total)
2.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder, divided (or Chipotle Chili Powder, if you are crazy)
1 medium onion, large dice
1 cup rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped green onions, roots and wilted outer leaves removed before chopping
1/2 to 1 cup salsa for serving
Heat the oil in a medium-large heavy pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt and 1 Tbsp. of the ancho chili powder. Place the chicken in the hot oil and brown on each side, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible.
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 1.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder. Cook one minute, and then add the broth and salt to taste. Stir well. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
Cut the chicken breast into 1″ pieces. Add them to the pot along with the beans. Re-cover and cook 12 minutes longer.
Sprinkle the green onions and test a kernel of rice. It should have no more than a hint of chalkiness at in the center, in which case you place the cover back on, remove it from the heat and let it stand 5-10 minutes. If it’s not cooked, cook for another 5 minutes or so.
Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve with salsa for each person to spoon on.

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