Midweek Mexican Chicken


Fresh, fast and full flavored. Everything you need in a midweek meal. photo: Nancy Duran

Now that my kids are a little bit older and just a wee bit more self sufficient, I’m starting to ramp up the work I’m taking on. On the one hand, “Yay!” On the other, “Sigh.” It’s bitter sweet, like most new phases in the growth of a child.

But I digress. My point here is that my added work outside of the household (in addition to all a mom does inside the household), has got me thinking more and more about quick and healthy midweek meals. Time is of the essence! Taste must not be sacrificed! Yes, I want it all. This meal answers that call and then some. After cooking off the onion and garlic, it requires little more than occasionally tossing in an ingredient or two. And the outcome belies its downright easy preparation.

A dish like this is calling out for creative license. While I’ve served it here with haricot vert and couscous, use whatever you’ve got on hand in your pantry. Quinoa and baby spinach are excellent options. I do, however, highly recommend boneless chicken thighs over breasts. Thighs are extremely tender when braised and there’s no need to brown them before adding the stock. One less step, a little less mess, and a superior product in the end. All that and more has moved this dish into my regular midweek meal rotation.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), halved crosswise
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn kernels
2 tablespoons jarred salsa
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime
Steamed green beans, baby spinach or another green vegetable, for serving*
Couscous, for serving*
Fresh cilantro, for serving

  1. In a large Dutch oven or deep saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and cook, stirring until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, and chile powder and cook, stirring, about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the wine and cook until almost reduced, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the stock and chicken, pushing the chicken pieces down into the liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 15 minutes.
  4. Uncover, add the beans, corn, salsa, and salt to taste and bring back up to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, 15 more minutes.
  5. Finish with the juice of 1 lime and serve with veggies, couscous and fresh cilantro.

* For 4 people, I used 1/2 pound haricot vert and 2 cups cooked couscous.

Nutritional analysis based on 4 servings (does not include salt to taste, steamed greens, couscous, or cilantro):
Calories 452, Fat 14g, Sodium 758mg, Carbohydrate 39g, Fiber 9g, Sugar 4g, Protein 39g

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2 Responses to Midweek Mexican Chicken

  1. Carol says:

    This was delicious!! We all loved it!


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