Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Spicy Chicken with Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Cranberry Salsa

Spicy Chicken with Black Bean, Cranberry, and Sweet Potato Salsa 

Maybe it's just the cynic in me, but anytime I see bloggers post "Day in the Life" posts, I assume that they wait for a busy day, or else save up all their errands and tasks to seem busier and more productive…. or they fake it to provide enough details that would be interesting to the rest of the internet world.  Because I know the majority of my own "day in the life" post would be pretty boring and mundane (or maybe even terrifying if it's a day that all my kids are home ;)).  However, every now and then I have a super busy and productive day, and I think to myself that it would be a day worthy of sharing, and I look like a rock star.  Then I remind myself that no one really cares about the minutiae of the life of a stay-at-home mom, and I go about my business.

Anywhoo, the day that I made this chicken was such a day.  I won't bore you with the details and minute-by-minute breakdown, but suffice to say, I was a busy bee.  As an aside, do you ever feel like the busier you are, the more efficiently you work?  I swear that the days that I have nothing pressing going on are my laziest and most unproductive days!

Spicy Chicken with Black Bean, Cranberry, and Sweet Potato Salsa

So all of this is to say that these were the thoughts I was having while I made this chicken dinner.  I was going out with friends for dinner that night, but I still wanted to feed the rest of the family something tasty and healthy.  And then I felt slighted that they all got to eat this for dinner without me, because it was GOOD.  The chicken is rubbed with a smoky, spicy spice blend, then quickly cooked on the stove top. The salsa doubles as a side, and the combo of the sweet potatoes, black beans, and cranberries was spot on.  Add some cilantro, peppers, and a simple lime dressing, and it creates a beautiful, healthy, and flavorful salad.  We especially loved the bursts of sweetness from the cranberries when paired with the smoky spice of the chicken.  The mixture also tastes great stuffed into a quesadilla with some pepperjack cheese.  And I'd definitely recommend serving this with chips and guacamole on the side.

At this time of year, we are all busy and frazzled, so it's always nice to have a healthy, quick meal in your back pocket.  Joey and I loved this so much, and I can't wait to make it again soon.  Maybe I'll even make it on a lazy day.

Spicy Chicken with Black Bean, Cranberry, and Sweet Potato Salsa

Spicy Chicken with Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Cranberry Salsa
adapted from Fine Cooking, November 2014

  • 4 Tbs canola oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to even thickness (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1 large garlic clove, mashed to a paste with a fork
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup of water.  Cover and cook for 1 minute.  Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the water has evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine 1 teaspoon of the salt with the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and paprika in a small bowl.  Rub the spice blend all over the chicken.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the now-empty skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the chicken 3-4 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked through.  Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

As the chicken is cooking and resting, make the salsa.  In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, lime juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil.  To the sweet potatoes, add the black beans, onions, peppers, cranberries, and cilantro.  Pour the dressing over the mixture, then toss gently to combine.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

To serve, slice the chicken and serve with the salsa.


Josie said...

Quick and uber delicious. It doesn't look like a quick meal. And I bet it doesn't taste like it either. Chicken is so versatile in regard to flavors and versions of it.

Josie said...

I love how this is a combo of both fall and fun tex-mex flavors! So perfect for a busy weeknight.

Josie said...

Hey, Josie, This looks like a great dish, but I'm a little biased. I love sweet potato so much I've started a sweet potato salsa company! I wonder if you would like them... it's basically a way to have a meal as nutritious as this one, but the sweet potato and flavors are already made and in the jar waiting for you, for those days and nights when you just can't start from scratch. I created them in my Vermont kitchen cuz I wanted to make it easier to get sweeties on the dinner table for my daughters' nutrition. Now my little Yummy Yammy brand is in all the Whole Foods up here -- not near you yet. But we are on Amazon. Anyway, if you're ever in a rush for something great, maybe our salsas will delight you! Beautiful post and lovely site. Best wishes!

Josie said...

Made this tonight and really enjoyed it, especially the salsa!

Josie said...

so glad you liked it! I agree, the salsa makes it!

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