Chicken Braised with Black Beans “Veracruz”


Chicken Braised with Black Beans “Veracruz”



All right, this richly flavored dish is something I created, not a specialty of Veracruz, that Mexican city and state bordering the Caribbean. But it employs a number of ingredients used in Veracruzana cooking, and highlights their favorite black bean.


Chicken Braised with Black Beans “Veracruz”

The dish is a sort of stew, and is designed to be accompanied by rice. I make it a little on the hot side in terms of peppers, but the people I’m making if for, including my grandchildren, like their food peppery.


The recipe serves 6-8 people, but leftovers are very enjoyable. Serve with rice on the side.


The Chicken:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne


The sauce:

2 medium-large onions, finely diced (or chopped in a food processor)

6 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon (or less if preferred) dry crushed red pepper or cayenne

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground annato (sold in Mexican groceries as “Achiote Molido”)

1/2 teaspoon dry oregano

1 1/4 cups chicken broth (low salt)

2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed well

1/2 cup sour cream or crema

Chopped cilantro for garnish, optional


Prepare and marinate the chicken: Trim off tough or fatty parts from the chicken breasts. Cut flesh into 1-inch cubes. Mix well with the salt, cornstarch, and next three spices. Set aside to marinate.


Prepare the onions, and fry them over medium-low heat in the olive oil in a wide pot, covered when not stirring. Every several minutes, open the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot well, until onions are very soft and starting to turn pale golden.


While the onions are frying, prepare the garlic, measure out the seasonings into a small bowl, and drain and rinse the beans.


When onions are done, stir in the garlic, and fry them in for several minutes. Add the chicken broth plus the seasonings. Stir well, then simmer, covered, five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the marinated chicken, raise the heat under the pot, and cook, stirring frequently until the raw color of the chicken is gone. Then cover the pot and simmer 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.


Stir in the drained black beans, and simmer 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the sauce, and add a little salt to taste. Stir in the sour cream, and bring back just to a boil, then remove from the heat. Taste one last time and if under-salted to your taste, stir in a little more salt.


The dish can be served now, or reheated later. When serving, sprinkle the top with coarsely chopped cilantro, if desired. Accompany with rice.

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