I’m back with another quick and easy pantry recipe for you all. This Spicy Chicken and Pinto Bean Stew is like a soup meets chili meets stew and you can switch it up and flavor it a thousand different ways. Use what you have on hand and stay home! It’s basically one part protein (chicken breast here), one part bean (pinto bean) and chicken stock, but water will work in a pinch. You can use whatever kind of protein you have on hand (shrimp or pork would be amazing) and you can also use whatever canned beans you have in your pantry. It’s one of the easiest recipes you’ll make and one that I hope you’ll want to try again and again. As for the toppings, go in that fridge and use what you have. Sour cream, shredded cheese, or any other kind of fresh produce you have will most likely work. It’s a versatile stew and I hope you love it!
Set a large skillet with high sides over medium-high heat. Once hot, drizzle in the oil and add the chicken. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the chicken has fully browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.
**Note: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts for this, because that’s what I had on hand, but feel free to use chicken thighs, turkey breast, sausage or even a ground meat would work here as well. It’s basically a chunky chili so anything goes!**
Stir in the minced garlic and half of the chopped red onion and cook until they’ve softened a bit.
**Note: Again, feel free to use whatever onion you have on hand. Brown, white, or even green onions will work! You just want that onion flavor and so it doesn’t really matter how you get it!**
Add the chicken stock, beans, tomatoes, as much of the chipotle sauce as you’d like, cumin, oregano, and another pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Bring up to a simmer, lower the flame and cook until the stew has thickened somewhat, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, let’s make a little topping “salad” to on top of the stew. You need a bit of freshness on top of this stew to cut through the spice. In a small bowl, stir together the diced avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper until just combined. Set aside until ready to eat.
**Note: This little salad or salsa is optional, so if you don’t have any of these ingredients, you can omit them or you can just leave out the salad altogether.**
Let’s turn our attention back to the stew. It should be good to go by now. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly, adding more salt or pepper as needed.
**Note: The spiciness in this stew comes from chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. You can add as much or as little as you’d like depending on how much spice you like. You can add just the sauce if you’d like to curb some of the heat, or you can also add in a pepper or two if you really like spice! And if you don’t have chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, you can add anywhere from 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or ground chili pepper or even red pepper flakes to get some heat in.**
Serve the stew in bowls and garnish with the avocado salad and top with radish, jalapeño, cilantro, and a lime wedge. Sour cream would be great here as well, if you have some in your fridge.
**Note: If you want to make this even heartier, you can serve with cooked white or brown rice on the side. Quinoa or even couscous would be great!**
I had some tortillas in the fridge that were going to go bad so I fried them in a skillet with a thin layer of oil until golden brown and crispy. I seasoned them with a pinch of salt right out of the oil. It adds a nice crunch to the dish.
**Note: If you don’t have tortillas or don’t feel like making the tostadas, you can also use tortilla chips if you have those on hand. Of course, neither are mandatory.**
I think it also is worth saying that if you don’t have pinto beans in your pantry, you can literally use whatever kind of canned beans you have on hand. Black, red, white, or even garbanzo beans would be delicious in this stew!
I hope that these quick and easy pantry recipes that I’ve been sharing on the blog are helpful to you during these difficult times. They’re meant to be versatile and filling without having to hopefully go to the store or if you do, they’re meant to be cooked with what you can find at the store at the moment. If you have any substitution questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Stay safe, friends (and stay home!)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
- Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
- 1 medium red onion, diced (divided)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup chicken stock (or water)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 to 3 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 ripe avocados, diced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Radish, thinly sliced
- Jalapeño, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- Crunchy tostada shells or tortilla chips
- Lime slices
- Set a large skillet with high sides over medium-high heat. Once hot, drizzle in the oil and add the chicken. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the chicken has fully browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and half of the onion and cook until softened.
- Add the chicken stock, beans, tomatoes, as much of the chipotle sauce as you'd like, cumin, oregano, and another pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Bring up to a simmer, lower the flame and cook until the stew has thickened somewhat, about 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together the diced avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper until just combined. Set aside until ready to eat.
- Serve the stew in bowls and garnish with the avocado salad and top with radish, jalapeño, cilantro, and a lime wedge. Serve with tostada shells or tortilla chips on the side. Enjoy!