Last night's dinner was absolutely delicious! The recipe looks complicated, but nothing in it is tricky. It takes only about an hour, too. Give it a try!
Southwestern Spiced Chicken & Black Bean Stew
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 thick slices bacon [I got the really smoky good stuff at the butcher counter at Whole
6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs, fat trimmed [I used 3 or 4 thighs and one split breast.]
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup beer [All we had in the house was Harpoon Ale, so I used that.]
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) black beans, rinsed (about 2 cups)
1 dried chipotle [This was the first time I used a dried chipotle—it added a lot of smokiness and flavor!]
2 cups low-salt canned chicken broth; more if needed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Sour cream for garnish
Fried tortilla strips or warm tortillas for serving
the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add the
bacon and cook until it renders much of its fat and crisps slightly,
about 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Season the chicken well with kosher salt and pepper. Add half of the chicken to
the pan and brown well on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Transfer to a plate. Brown the remaining chicken and reserve with the
rest. [I was able to fit everything in the pot at once.]
There should be 2 to 3 tablespoons fat left in the pan; if there's more, spoon out and discard the excess. Add the onion and bell pepper, season well with kosher salt, and cook, stirring often, until the onion softens and caramelizes slightly, about 7 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the chili powder and cumin, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the beer and cook until it's almost completely reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the beans, the chipotle, and the chicken broth. When the mixture comes to a boil, adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer 2 cups of the beans and broth (but not the chipotle) to a blender, purée, and then mix it back into the rest of the broth.
Return the chicken to the pot, cover with the lid slightly ajar, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. If the stew is too thick, thin it with more chicken broth [I just added a little bit of water]. Discard the chipotle. Crumble the reserved bacon. Juice one half of the lime; cut the other half into wedges. Stir the bacon, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro into the stew and season well with kosher salt and pepper. Serve immediately, ladling some of the beans and chicken into each bowl. Sprinkle each serving with the remaining cilantro [I didn't do this] and a small dollop of sour cream [Andy used sour cream but I didn't]. Serve with the lime wedges [We didn't use them] and fried tortilla strips, if you like. [We used warm flour tortillas for "mopping and dipping," as Andy calls it. The fried tortilla strips looked pretty in the photo, but I didn't bother. If you want to make them, cut corn or flour tortillas into long strips and fry in an inch of hot (350°) oil until they start to brown, about 2 minutes; drain briefly on paper towels.]