Tomatillo Chicken with Black Beans


The addition of black beans to a recipe for tomatillo chicken was complete serendipity.  True to form, I planned to serve the tomatillo chicken over brown rice and then forgot to actually make the brown rice.  (I think this is my subconscious self reminding me that I think brown rice is a huge, ever-lovin’ hassle.)  The tomatillo chicken, in and of itself, was not going to be enough for dinner – especially not with my hubby in the house – so in an effort to quickly fill out the dish I popped open a can of black beans and tossed them in.  They added a wonderful creamy texture and, happily, more protein without much fat.  (Not that the dish was hurting for protein…)  I’d still recommend serving this over brown rice if you can remember it – I can’t – and if you did, this dish could stretch to a main course for 4 instead of just 2.

Tomatillo Chicken with Black Beans

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thigh pieces
1/2 white onion or 1 whole large shallot, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
8 tomatillos (approx), husks removed
kosher salt
ancho chili powder
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • In a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm a glug of vegetable oil until shimmering.  Season the chicken thigh pieces and lay them in the oil to brown, turning over once.  When the chicken thigh pieces are browned, remove them to a plate.
  • Meanwhile, whir the tomatillos in a food processor until pureed.  Reserve for later.
  • Add the onion and poblano pepper to the oil, season with kosher salt and cook until softened and slightly caramelized.  Pour the tomatillo sauce into the pot and stir around to coat the peppers and onions.
  • Return the chicken to the pot, nestling each piece into the tomatillo sauce and turning to coat.  Cover the pot and simmer on medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  (How long you cook this will depend on how thick your chicken pieces are.  If you use bone-in thighs or breasts, adjust the cooking time accordingly.)
  • Drain and rinse the black beans.  Add them to the pot and stir everything together.  Continue to simmer until the beans are warmed through.  Season with more ancho chili powder if necessary and serve, alone or over brown rice.


Source: Adapted from Everyday Food, September 2009

Note: As you can probably tell from the references to poblano pepper and ancho chili powder, I like warmth but not a four-alarm fire on my dinner plate.  Feel free to play with the heat-adding elements in this dish, substituting a couple of jalepenos for the poblano, for example, if you want something spicier.  My palate is simply not made to tolerate really hard-core chili action, but if yours is, by all means, go nuts.

7 thoughts on “Tomatillo Chicken with Black Beans

  1. Thanks for the kind words, City Girl! I think you could certainly adapt this recipe to use chicken breast. I generally prefer dark meat for stewed dishes like this one because it is more moist than white meat. But if you watch the dish carefully and make sure not to overcook the chicken, it would be perfectly good!

  2. I received tomatillos (and onions, and a jalapeno) in my CSA box last week, so my roommate and I are going to try this tonight – thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  3. It was so delicious! We used a combination of dark meat and light meat. Also, my roommate is very insistent that she doesn’t like black beans, so I separated some out for her before adding them into the dish. I told her she should try it with black beans, though – and when she did, she decided it was so good, she poured everything back together! When I can get someone to appreciate a food they normally don’t enjoy, I consider that a big success! 🙂

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