Mexican Rice Casserole

Mexican Rice Casserole

This is an adaptation of an arroz con pollo recipe from the great Rick Bayless book 'Mexican Everyday.' The addition of zucchini makes it more of a complete one-pot dinner, and the seasoning has been significantly reduced in the interest of kid-friendliness. Smoked paprika and ancho chile powder make a smoky, subtle dish -- but by all means, substitute the chile powder you've got.

Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 4


    2 tablespoons olive oil
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (around 1-1 1/2 pounds)
    kosher salt
    1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
    1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1 white onion, chopped
    2 medium zucchini, diced
    1 cup rice
    4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed through a garlic press
    1 1/2 cups chicken broth
    1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 tablespoon lime juice
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    salsa and sour cream for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken first with salt and then with half the chile powder and half the smoked paprika. Sauté the chicken for 3 minutes, or until well browned, then flip and brown the other side -- another 2-3 minutes. Remove them to a cutting board to cool. It won't be cooked through yet, and that's fine.
  2. In the remaining oil, sauté the onion, zucchini, and rice for 5 or so minutes until the onion starts to get translucent and the rice starts to get opaque. Stir in the garlic and the rest of the chile powder and paprika and sauté for another minute or two, then add the broth and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir well. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Slice or dice the chicken and add it to the pot with the beans, then recover and cook another 12 minutes.
  4. Now turn off the heat, stir in the cilantro, and let the pot stand, covered for 10 minutes to finish cooking the rice.
  5. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

See all recipes from Catherine Newman's "Dalai Mama Dishes" blog.

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