Southwestern-Style Chicken For The Lazy

Feeling tired tonight after a long stressful week, and I wasn’t quite sure how to cook the boneless chicken I’d thawed. So after paging through some of the cookbooks in the vast Wagstaff archives, I landed on the often overlooked & tragically underrated Joy Of Cooking.

The older edition of this pretty much handles every sort of food concoction you can think of, from the basic to the complex yet familiar. And the updated edition adds all sorts of ethnic goodies more in line with the modern American palate. It’s all just basic good cooking, really, useful for the novice and the (ahem) expert.

I found an interesting recipe for a parchment baked southwestern chicken, and altered it slightly to fit what I had sitting around. This is what I came up with:

1. Opened a can of black beans, drained ’em, and divided them in half. I put half in the fridge for another night & used the rest.

2. Mixed the following into the beans: cayenne to taste (1/2 tsp or so), 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp red wine vinegar & 1 tbsp olive oil. You can also mix chopped onion in if you want.

3. Took the half a chicken breast, salt/peppered both sides.

4. Put the chicken on a piece of foil, covered it with the seasoned beans, sprinkled 1/2 tsp of paprika on top, and wrapped the whole thing up tight in foil to sit on a baking dish. (You can also use parchment).

5. 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Opened it carefully to avoid the steam, and then dumped the entirety of it over some white rice I’d cooked in some chicken broth. This made one portion. Want more? Do the math & wrap each portion individually.

Good stuff – super easy, the chicken comes out wonderfully juicy with a good texture, basically over ready-made rice and black beans. Clean up is also practically nil – basically just throwing out the foil and a light wash of the baking dish it sat in.

It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder why some people claim they can’t cook for themselves. Seriously… what could be simpler?

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