I can tell fall is starting to sink in for me this year by the foods I’m making. I made minestrone soup last week and meatballs with sauce yesterday. I’ve baked three loaves of banana bread in the past week. Sunday saw an apple crostada with apples picked that afternoon at a nearby orchard. And this version of black beans and rice, which may not seem overly fall-ish, is a great healthy, hearty take on the traditional but feels rather seasonal with the fresh apple topping. I love this early fall time when apples taste so extra delicious because I’ve been busy eating peaches and plums and melons and berries and have forgotten all about them over the summer.
The layers in this dish complement one another so perfectly. The brown rice is a nutty, simple base, the beans and peppers are creamy and richly flavored by the chicken broth and spices, the chicken adds a nice salty, meaty component, and the apples are an unexpected juicy, sweet counterpoint to the rest of dish, keeping it from feeling too heavy or seriously Mexican.
The brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook but the rest of the dish goes together in well less than that. This has become another of my weeknight staples. Not quite a “one pot” meal but everything you need is in the finished dish – protein, whole grains, fiber, and all those great vitamins from the fruit and veggies. Do you need any more convincing? Delicious, quick, and healthy…get cooking!
Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Apples
2 c. brown rice, cooked
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp. canola oil
1/3 c. red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 c. chicken broth
2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 apple, cored and diced
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1 tsp. lime juice
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
Preheat oven to 400º.
Season chicken with salt and pepper and roast in oven until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and shred with a fork.
Heat oil over medium high heat. Add red onion and peppers and cook until softened, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, and cumin and stir for a minute or two. Add broth and beans and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine apple, parsley, shallot, and lime juice. Stir together and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, layer rice, beans, chicken, and apple salsa.