A non-recipe recipe for Mexican chicken

Sometimes, I love cooking from a recipe, but other times…I just don’t. Like, when I’ve been busy, or I’m tired, or I’ve broken my brain working on some project or other. Basically, when I’d rather operate on autopilot rather than think or read my way to a homecooked meal.
Sunday was one of those days. The weather was cooler, so I was thinking stew, but I failed to take a thick bottom round roast out of the freezer in time. I decided that chicken thighs would thaw faster, and Jeff brought home a bunch of 5 for $5 avocados from Whole Foods, so the deal was sealed…I’d make some kind of Mexican-inspired chicken stew thing.
I’m also trying to get better about not having produce rot in the fridge, so I thought about what I had on hand. Onions? Check. Peppers? Check. Canned beans and cumin? Always.
I started by browning the chicken in olive oil over medium-high heat in my Le Creuset Dutch oven. I used eight thighs (leftovers!), so I had to do it in two batches, removing them to a pie plate when done. While they browned, I…
  • Cut a peeled medium onion and two peppers in half (I used one red and one yellow) and sliced them thinly.
  • Dumped a can each of black beans and pinto beans into a colander, rinsed them well with cold water, and allowed them to drain.

When all the chicken thighs were browned and set aside, I added a bit more olive oil to the pot and added the sliced onion, stirring them around and scraping browned chicken bits from the pan.

When the onions were wilting and turning a bit golden, I added the sliced peppers to the pot. I stirred them occasionally until they were starting to soften.

Then, I dumped the beans into the pot, stirred in some cumin (I didn’t measure, but about a heaping teaspoon) and about a half-teaspoon of salt, and nestled the chicken thighs on top (the accumulated juices went in the pot, too).

I put the lid on and let them cook for…uhhh…about 90 minutes? We were watching a movie, and basically let them cook until we were hungry. The thighs were really tender and falling apart, which was awesome, but a shorter cooking time would be just fine, as long as the thighs were cooked through. You could probably get away with 30 minutes.

Can you tell I’m not a recipe writer? Well, this isn’t really a recipe, per se, but nevertheless, here’s an ingredient list:

 

  • Eight chicken thighs
  • Olive oil for pot
  • One medium onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • Two bell peppers, halved, stems and seeds removed, and thinly sliced
  • Two cans beans, rinsed and drained
  • One heaping teaspoon cumin (or more/less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more/less to taste)
  • Optional: Top with mashed avocado and/or plain Greek yogurt

This was really yummy, and made the most excellent leftovers, too. I love leftovers! And because I wasn’t constantly referring to a cookbook, I had time and bandwidth to clean out the dishwasher and do some other kitchen multitasking during the “watching and stirring” part of the preparations, making the later part of the evening more peaceful. A good way to end the week.