After an unseasonably warm September, which to Pacific-Northwesterners like me means temperatures over 60 degrees and more than 5 days of sunshine in a row, fall has finally arrived! Today the thermometer hasn’t gotten past 52 degrees and I woke up to that familiar feeling of being inside a cloud. Gray skies, moist air, and the sound of fog horns resonating from the harbor all the way up to my house a mile away. Basically the kind of weather we get about 200 days a year. And it comes with that cold, clammy wetness that seeps into your bones and stays there for perpetually 7 months. I’m sure by now you’re all just dying to move to the Pacific Northwest, right?
Actually, it’s not all that bad. I’m just highlighting all of the bad features and keeping the good ones to myself so that you won’t all pack up and move to my island and overpopulate it and take over all the good beaches and build a bunch of houses on my favorite trails and go around asking a bunch of ridiculous tourist questions. Because we islanders are very, very unfriendly. And the weather really does suck. (See what I did there?)
Kidding. Anyway, I’m actually excited because cooler weather means that fall is here! The leaves have turned beautiful colors and started to fall, pumpkins are appearing outside the grocery stores, and Halloween decorations/recipes/crafts are all over Pinterest. That last one is what really clued me in that autumn is among us. Hah.
Anyway, along with this cooler weather comes an overwhelming desire for me to make lots of warm stew, soup, and chili. Which I have done. I’ve made several different stews/soups/chilis this fall, but they keep getting eaten up before I can snap a picture! Sad. But don’t worry, because I did manage to get a picture of the last bowl of this Black Bean, Chicken, and Red Pepper Stew! And I’m so glad I did, because this recipe is just too good not to post. The combination of beans, chicken, roasted peppers, green chiles, and cilantro (among other good things) makes for a seriously delicious stew. It was so thick and hearty that it reminded me of a chili, but with a little more broth and fresher flavors. This is a perfect meal to warm you up on a chilly fall day, and I’m sure I’ll be making it many more times throughout the cold months ahead!
Black Bean, Chicken, & Red Pepper Stew
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 large chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 12-oz jar roasted red peppers, diced (or 1 large fresh roasted pepper)
1 4-oz can diced mild green chiles
2 14-oz cans chicken broth
2 Tbs cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed (optional, but adds great flavor)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or paprika, if you can’t take the heat)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring often, until browned and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken pieces to a separate bowl. Set aside.
Drain the juices out of the pot and heat up the second Tbs of oil. Add in the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute or so. Next, stir in the black beans, diced tomatoes, roasted peppers, green chiles, chicken broth, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper.
Heat the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until stew reaches desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the fresh cilantro. Serve.
(Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats)