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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Apple Salsa

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...And just like that, Christmas has passed. The passage of time kind of freaks me out. I know everyone is always saying it, but time really does appear to be flying by faster and faster. I'm doing my best to be present in the place and the time that I am. It's way too easy to be looking forward to things in the future and, inadvertently or not, wishing time away. Instead I'm spending the next few days soaking up the present. For me this means another week off of work and extensive time with family. Needless to say I'd like time to pass sloooooowly for the next seven days!
That has nothing to do with this meal, just something that's on my mind today! We've been on a big Mexican kick lately. It seems every week I'm working enchiladas or quesadillas or nachos into the menu. I was drawn to this recipe because it reminded me a lot of our favorite Chipotle burrito bowls. I've made similar recipes before, but was drawn to this one because of the apple salsa. I've eaten a lot of different salsas, but this one was new to me!
The apple salsa was a crunchy, refreshing topping amidst the more standard Mexican ingredients. I jazzed up the rice with cilantro and lime juice, in an attempt to make it more reminiscent of Chipotle's rice. There are several components to this recipe that have to be cooked separately making this a bit involved, but you can cut time by using pre-cooked chicken, making the salsa a day ahead of time, or buying pre-chopped vegetables. The end result is a fantastic combination of your favorite Mexican flavors. Don't be fooled by the pictures--as soon as I took them, everything was mixed together, just like I do at Chipotle!

One Year Ago: Best of 2011 - Taste Cocktail Bar
Two Years Ago: Giant Smores Cake

Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Apple Salsa
slightly adapted from Bon Appetit January 2012

-1 cup chopped, peeled Granny Smith apple
-1 cup chopped cilantro, divided
-1/3 cup finely chopped red onion, divided
-1 tsp (or more) fresh lime juice, plus more for rice
-1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
-2 tbsp vegetable oil
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 1/2 tsp chili powder
-3/4 tsp cumin
-4 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
-2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
-salt & pepper, to taste
-1 cup brown rice
-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
-lime wedges, for serving

1. In a small bowl combine the apple, 1/4 cup cilantro, 2 tbsp red onion, and 1 tsp lime juice. Set aside.
2. Cook rice according to package instructions, using 2 cups broth instead of water. When rice is cooked, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup cilantro and lime juice, to taste.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and bell pepper, cooking until soft (6-7 minutes). Add garlic, chili powder, and cumin, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups chicken broth and beans, bringing mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer briskly, until sauce is thickened (8-10 minutes). Use a spoon to mash some of the beans while cooking, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
4. To serve, divide beans and rice among plates. Top with shredded chicken and apple salsa. Garnish with additional cilantro and lime wedges.