One pot recipes are always a favorite especially when they are bursting with flavor like this Mexican Chicken and Rice Skillet recipe. Seared chicken thighs, spicy rice full of black beans, corn, tomatoes, sweet peppers and onions make for a robust meal and little effort to make it!
I L.O.V.E. this one pot Mexican Chicken and Rice Skillet! I began craving these flavors last week as the wind kicked up, swirling fall-colored leaves around my yard making me pull my sweater on a bit tighter. In my head the flavors were soul-warming, the chicken perfectly seared and succulent. When I pulled together the recipe I’d been seeing in my head, it did not disappoint.
Regular readers will notice a theme especially at this time of year; easy, flavorful, approachable dinner recipes that don’t require slaving in the kitchen. It’s my personal mission, for myself and for you! I’m never willing to compromise quality of flavor but if I can pull together a one pot meal, that’s my jam. It’s why I love braising recipes at this time of year.
This recipe creates an abundant portion of soft rice which reminds me in texture of Spanish rice one would make from a box. It has a denser texture, bursting with flavor. It’s spicy in an earthy way and boasts beautiful colors and textures thanks to the corn, black beans, petite diced tomatoes, onions and colorful sweet peppers.
The length of time for the recipe to cook fully may vary with altitude. The chicken thighs are first seared on their own before the rice mixture is combined and the chicken returned to the pan for the rice to cook through, absorbing all the liquid. The dish is left to simmer untouched for 20 minutes and depending on how much of the liquid is absorbed at that point (as well as how done the rice is to the taste and the internal temperature of the chicken) it is either removed from the heat to rest before serving, or to cook a bit longer.
The spicy flavor is really delivered from the hot paprika and chipotle chili powder (which adds a smoky flavor too). If you generally prefer a more mild heat, I suggest cutting those two ingredients back by half. You can always add some hot sauce or salsa to perk the heat up before serving. Also if when having made the recipe you find the spiciness to be too hot, adding a dairy product, sour cream in this case, (or drinking milk) is the secret to dimming heat!
Mexican Chicken and Rice Skillet
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon Hot Paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
- 1 tablespoon ground Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon dried Oregano
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 6 Chicken Thighs (about 3 pounds, bone-in, with skin), rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
- 1 medium White Onion , chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves , peeled and diced
- 1 medium Red Pepper , seeded and chopped
- 1 15- ounce can Black Beans , drained
- 1 15- ounce can Corn Kernels , drained (1 ½ cups fresh or frozen/thawed corn may be substituted)
- 1 14- ounce can Petite Diced Tomatoes , drained with liquid reserved
- 1 ½ cup Long Grain Rice (I used Texmati, a Basmati Long Grain mix)
- 1 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1 ¾ cups Water
- Suggested garnish: lime wedges , sliced jalapeno peppers, sour cream (lessens the spicy heat too!)
- Combine the salt, hot paprika, chili powder, cumin and oregano in a small bowl.
- Add olive oil to a large, deep skillet (with lid) or Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until the surface of the oil shimmers. Add the chicken thighs skin side down into the pan. Allow to cook for 10 minutes. Gently flip the thighs ensuring the skin stays intact. Cook and additional 5 minutes and remove from the pan.
- Drain any fat reserving 2 tablespoons in the skillet. Add the onions and red pepper and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic and sauté and additional 1 minute.
- Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat until the rice appears shiny. Add the black beans, corn, tomatoes to the pan. Sprinkle with spice mix and stir to combine.
- Pour the stock, water and tomato liquid into the pan and place the chicken thighs on top of the rice skin side up. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to allow a strong simmer and place the lid on the skillet. Cook for 20 minutes before checking on the rice.
- The dish is done when the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is done to the taste, and the chicken registers 165 degrees internally. If at 20 minutes the dish is done, remove from heat with lid on and allow to sit for 5 minutes. If liquid is still present, return the lid to the pan and allow it to cook 10 additional minutes or until recipe is done. Allow to rest off the heat for 5 minutes before serving.