Pulled Chicken with Tomatoes and Black Beans

Yesterday was a doozy. I started my Monday as per the norm, and was at ease thinking that I had planned this week, the week before our beach vacation, so meticulously that nothing could go wrong. Nothing would be out of the ordinary. Nothing would go wrong. I was in total control.

I got in my car, as I normally do, thinking about the morning’s schedule, my 9:00AM meeting, etc. I stuck the key in the ignition, turned it, the electronics came on, Rip This Joint by The Rolling Stones was playing on WFUV, and then nothing else. Why didn’t the engine turn on? Why didn’t the engine even make a sound!? NOOOOOO.

Cars are not my forte. So I didn’t bother to do much of a diagnosis. I knew it wasn’t a battery issue, and without bothering to check under the hood, I just made my way back to my apartment to set up the home office and email my boss.

I was also planning on asking the husband for help, but alas, his employer requested his services before I could, before he even got out of bed. Typical! He did, however, bring me a hot cup of coffee, so he does get credit for that – aaaand he took care of filing an insurance claim later on in the day so there is that too.

Luckily I have a certified pre-owned Volkswagen so I knew I could get the car towed to the dealership pretty quickly without costing me a dime. And the dealership is literally a half of a mile from my apartment so it is not too incredibly inconvenient.

When the tow truck driver arrived he tried to help me get the car started. It looked like the car electronics thought the car was in drive, but the gear shift was in park. So, as a safety precaution, the car wouldn’t start. He popped the hood and after taking a quick peep, he immediately shut it.

“Ma’am, you have a squirrel in your engine bay”.

“I’m sorry, what?”

He opened the hood again to let me take a look, and as soon as I saw a little flip of a bushy tail, I ran from the car screaming. The stupid squirrel, moved in, made a home, and ate wires affecting the electronic gear-shifting system. Or something of that nature; I’m not 100% on the details. All I know is that I do not like squirrels any more.

We waited around for about 30 minutes for the squirrel to vacate, but he was determined to stay. We shook the car, made noises, everything. I suppose he must have finally hopped out when my car was being towed. Argh.

So, super long story somewhat shortened, when five-o-clock finally rolled around, I was ready to de-stress in my happy place, the kitchen.  I came up with this uncomplicated one skillet dish which proved to be very comforting, but overall rather healthy.

Here’s hoping my car will be ready in the next day or two for our big trip down south!

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Grocery List:

1 lb chicken breast or thighs

1 14-15 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid

1 14-15 oz can black beans, drained

1 medium Spanish onion, diced

2 – 3 cloves garlic

½ tablespoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon ancho chili powder

2 tablespoons of olive oil

½ cup of dry white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

For garnish: avocado, chopped green onion, lime wedges, cilantro, jalapeño, Cotija cheese, sour cream, hot sauce

Brown rice for serving

 

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How To:

To start, season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat. When hot and smoking, brown the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and lower the heat to medium – high. Throw in the onions with a touch of salt, the paprika, and chili powder and sauté for about 5-7 minutes. Then, add in the garlic and cook until fragrant – roughly 30 seconds to a minute.

Next, pour in the white wine and let it just about fully reduce. After, pour in the tomatoes with liquid, in addition to the black beans. Give it all a good stir and place the browned chicken on top of the mixture.  Bring it all to a simmer and then cover the skillet, move the heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes or so.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and shred it into a large bowl using two forks. When ready to serve, spoon the tomato and bean mixture into bowls with brown rice. Top with chicken, avocado, green onion, hot sauce and sprinkle juice from a lime wedge. I didn’t have cilantro, jalapeño, Cotija cheese, or sour cream on hand but think any of these ingredients would be lovely additions!

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