Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Roasted Chicken with Black Beans and Yams

Yams and black beans seem incongruous, but when roasted with dark meat chicken quarters it all works together. I learned this Latin-like dish perusing prose in publications devoted to epicurean delights at my local co-op grocer during a work lunch break.

Can you find the incongruity in this picture of my local Co-op?

Their magazine rack has everything from Vegetarian Times to Bon Appetit. After sitting in front of a computer screen for 4 hours it is a relief to walk a mile and stand skimming print recipes for 15 minutes. This chef is always on the lookout for interesting cuisine concoctions and will pull from anywhere.

This dish stood out for the color contrast and the addition of black beans for a Latin twist. If you have had fried sweet plantains (bananas) at a South American or Cuban restaurant, substituting yams is a less oily way to go -- I love fried sweet plantains but they soak up oil like a sponge. And this is a one-pot entree, so just do a little prep, slap it in the oven, then sit back and relax for a couple of hours.

I 'm always looking for an excuse to cook with 69 cents per pound chicken leg quarters (from Albertsons grocery this time); and I need more of the color orange in my diet -- one can only go through so many bags of cut carrots. Yams are always on sale at my local Latin market and large pound-and-a-half cans of black beans cost 99.99 cents at the local 99c only Stores. They are frequently on sale at most any grocery store; and you can substitute blackeyed peas or pinto beans when the price is right. Yams sweeten this dish nicely and hold up well for baking with chicken. Pull the skin off the chicken for a lighter entree. The juices from the bird flavor the black beans and yam to delectable heights.

Thanks to Good Housekeeping Comfort Food magazine (the December issue) for this entree idea. You can go to page 26 for the original recipe. I simplified the dish leaving out a few ingredients including cilantro and some sauteed aromatics.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
3 to 4 chicken leg quarters or breasts
1 large 29 ounce 99.99c can of black beans (or 2 small ones) - reserve liquid. It is ok to substituted with any of your favorite beans.
1 large yam or sweet potato (or 2 medium ones) - peeled and chopped into 2 inch chunks
1 tbsp. chopped garlic - fresh or jar
1 tbsp. cumin (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional) or favorite dried herbs (experiment).
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain black beans reserving liquid. Add beans and half a cup of the bean liquid to bottom of a large baking pot. Peel and chop yam or sweet potato into large 2 inch pieces. Place chopped yams on the black beans. Sprinkle garlic and cumin over yams and beans. 

Finally place chicken on top and season with salt and pepper; you can remove skin from chicken for a lighter version. Cook covered for 1 hour. A lot of chicken juice will render to steam-cook the yams. Uncover and continue cooking for 45 minutes more so chicken browns and liquid reduces (white meat needs less time, so cook uncovered about half an hour or less). Chicken is done when juices run clear when pierced with a fork in the thickest part. You can add the rest of the bean liquid if you would like more sauce with your meal (the dark meat rendered so much broth that I ended pouring out half of it!).

A delicious yam substitution is peeled and chopped yucca, if your local Latin market carries it. Serve with white or brown rice to stretch this budget entree even further. A couple of fresh lime slices are colorful garnishes and a drizzle of lime juice brightens this Latin style entree.


CaSaundraLeigh said...

This looks like a stunning dish--perfect for fall! And I love all those foodie mags!

Shell said...

Looks tasty. I'm beginning to think you are on a first name basis with every grocery store and independent restaurant in the LA area.

Gillian said...

I just found your blog and this looks like something I might actually make (& enjoy)! Amazing!

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