Cuban-Style Chicken, Black Bean, and Sweet Potato Stew

When I was on my way home from work today, I had literally, no idea what the heck to make for dinner. No idea whatsoever. I knew I had chicken, but I also have ground beef, pasta, tomato sauce, and various other veggies… when I got home, I started scrounging. I found a sweet potato… then 2 cans of black beans… then chicken broth… then I had an idea! A quick, spicy, stovetop stew was perfect for this absolutely freezing night. I decided to take a few flavors I know and love, along with a technique I learned from making Ropa Vieja: meat + vinegar + slow (ish) cooking = really tender meat.

There were some really intense flavors here!

There were some really intense flavors here!

Cuban-Style Chicken, Black Bean, and Sweet Potato Quick Stew

Ingredients

2 large chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1 large sweet potato, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed well

1 can (15 oz) chicken broth

2 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Sriracha to taste

salt & pepper to taste

2 c. cooked rice

sour cream (if desired)

Directions

In a skillet with a lid (or pot), heat the olive oil and garlic. Sautee until aromatic and garlic is lightly browned. Add the chicken, sweet potatoes, beans, broth, vinegar, and spices. Stir well, bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer, covered for about 35 minutes. Serve on rice with sour cream on top.

I call this “Cuban Style” because, in many of the Cuban dishes I’ve had and made, they mix a bean-based protein, a meat-based protein, and multiple starches along with intense flavors and slow cooking. Next time I make this, it’s going into the crock pot to cook for even longer. It was very satisfying with all the different flavors and textures!

Not long after finishing dinner (and our first set of thank you notes!), there was a knock at the back door, and the UPS man handed Adam a mystery package. I recognized the name of the company on the outside of the box, but definitely did not order anything from them! Then it hit me! It was the hummus I’d won from Back In Skinny Jeans‘ giveaway! Stephanie at BISJ told me that I’d won “hummus in a tube”, but when I opened the box, there was a great surprise!

SO... MUCH... HUMMUS...

SO... MUCH... HUMMUS...

I got 4 jars of Wild Garden Hummus, 2 in original flavor and 2 in Roasted Garlic. I’m so excited to try them!

OH FELLOW BLOGGERS!!! MAKE SURE you visit Lee’s blog here to sign up for our “Secret Cupid” Valentine’s Day Exchange!

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Vegetarian Dinner Week Begins!

On Saturday, Adam and I were talking about what I should make for dinner this week, and he flat out said “How about those black bean burgers again? Those were awesome!” So I agreed; we’ll have bean burgers. Then I said “We have a ton of lentils to use, I could make a lentil casserole.” He agreed, and then said “How about we just do vegetarian dinners this week, just for the heck of it.” And I agreed. (This was a very agreeable conversation!) We actually started the week last night with leftover spinach lasagna, but I’m not counting that, since it was technically cooked last week.

Vegetarian Dinner Week is starting with a recipe loosely based around Caitlin’s Red Lentil Casserole over at See Bride Run. So many of the flavors sounded fantastic, but alas… 2 stores and no red lentils, so I decided to just go with our plethora of regular brown lentils. I did adapt the recipe a little bit, but its mostly hers!

I was having camera issues. Sorry for the bizarre pic!

I was having camera issues. Sorry for the bizarre pic!

Lentil and Bean Casserole

Ingredients

1 1/2 c. dry brown lentils

3 cups water

1 can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

1 small sweet onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. black pepper

1 c. shredded parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions

In a pot, cook the lentils in the 3 cups of water until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain off extra water. While lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic, green pepper, and onion and sauteĆ© until “relaxed” and the onion is translucent. In a large bowl, mix the lentils, beans, vegetables, spices, egg and cheese together. Pour into a greased (or sprayed) casserole dish and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden.

It smelled absolutely fantastic in our house while this cooked. I know the curry/garam masala/parmesan combo sounds strange, but trust me, it’s not! The flavors melded very well, and the ONLY complaint I have is that it was a little bit dry. Next time, I may add some liquid before baking. There was a little heat from the curry powder, sweetness from the veggies… all in all a fab dinner!! I highly recommend this one!

I also, in case you didn’t notice, had a glass of my favorite Polka Dot Riesling with dinner. Just what I needed on a Monday!

Happy almost-Inauguration!