Do you know how sometimes you just really don’t feel like washing dishes? Mostly because you’ve been working all day, but also because you’ve just slaved away for hours cooking dinner, and so the last thing you want to do is stand in front of the sink scrubbing away at the mess you just made. Maybe you even use paper plates from time to time because you hate dish duty that much. I’m not judging, and I’m also not saying that I don’t use disposable plates every now and then. Mainly at parties, and yes I’m embarrassed to admit it but hey, at least I’m not washing dishes all night afterwards. This long rant is to say that one skillet meals were invented for people like us. People who hate doing the dishes. This year’s first Cheers to the Weekend post is not only delicious, not only easy to make, but it just so happens to be one of those heaven-sent skillet meals. I don’t know about you, but I could seriously eat rice and beans every day of my life, and never get tired of it. These are so flavorful because they’re cooked with well seasoned chicken. It’s a Cuban all-in-one meal that you’re going to want to make again and again. Start adding it to your weekly menu because I guarantee everyone will love it! And leftovers? Don’t even get me started on it. It just gets better the next day.
Let’s start by seasoning the chicken. This is a very crucial step because you don’t want bland boring flavorless chicken. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and paprika, on both sides.
**Note: I like using bone-in thighs and legs because they have the most flavor out of all the chicken parts. But if you want boneless breast that would work, it’ll just cook quickly and might dry out. So keep that in mind.**
Brown the chicken, in batches, in a very large skillet with a little bit of olive oil. Flip over and brown both sides, but keep in mind that we’re not looking to cook the chicken all the way through at this point. We’re just adding a crust because that will create more flavor.
**Tip: It’s important to not over-crowd the chicken in the skillet so that it browns evenly. If you put too much in the pan, it’ll end up steaming and not browning.**
Transfer the chicken to a plate or platter and continue to cook the remaining chicken. Once it’s all browned, drizzle in more oil and stir in the onion and garlic and cook until softened and just starting to brown.
Add the red bell pepper and tomatoes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer. These veggies are optional, and while I add them for flavor, I mostly add them for color!
Stir in the rice and cook for about a minute. Cooking it slightly before adding the liquid toasts the rice a bit and develops its flavor. I’m always about creating the most flavor possible.
Add the beans and bay leaves and stir once more. I like to drain and rinse the black beans before adding them to the skillet so that I wash away some of that added salt.
**Note: Feel free to use either fresh or dried bay leaves. I hardly ever have fresh bay leaves on hand because they’re always sold in such a large bunch and I never get around to using it all. But I always have dried on hand.**
Add the chicken stock and scrape up all those browned bits at the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. Give it all a stir and then nestle in the chicken in a single layer.
Cover tightly and bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven until the liquid has been absorbed, the rice has softened, and the chicken registers 165 degrees F with a thermometer. Remove the pan from the oven, uncover and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
**Tip: I always let chicken, especially bone-in chicken, rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting or servings so that it gives the juices a chance to set in.**
Sprinkle the top with chopped fresh parsley and serve with fresh lime wedges on the side for squeezing on top if people wish to do so. It’s just a little added splash of freshness to the dish that I think rounds everything nicely.
I also like to serve this dish with fried sweet plantains because that’s very popular in Cuban food. Plantains are those very large green bananas, that are starchy, but when they’re ripe they turn black and become very sweet. I slice them thinly and sauté in butter for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
This is a great dish to keep up your sleeve when you’re too tired from work and don’t feel like spending too much time in the kitchen. What’s best though is that all you need is one skillet to pull it off. That’s it. Which means that your clean up will be a breeze. Now that’s what I call magic.
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken legs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium bell pepper, diced
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 lime, sliced
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, and paprika until evenly coated. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat with two tablespoons olive oil. Once hot, brown the chicken, four pieces at a time, for about 5 minutes on both sides. You're not looking to cook the chicken all the way, just give it some color. Transfer to a plate or platter and continue browning the last four pieces. Remove the chicken onto the platter and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Add the remaining oil and stir in the onion and garlic and cook until softened, and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red bell pepper and tomato and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the rice and remaining teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the black beans, bay leaves and the chicken stock, giving it all a stir to evenly combine. Bring the liquid to a simmer and then nestle in the chicken in a single layer, as much as possible. Cover with a lid and bake in the oven until the liquid has absorbed, the rice has softened, and the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with parsley. Let cool slightly before serving warm with lime wedges. Enjoy!