Penzeys Nicaraguan-style Red Beans with Pulled Chicken

This is Marie, contributing a recipe from one of our beloved Penzeys catalogs. This one comes under the easy-but-not-quick category. As with any recipe involving dry beans, you will want to take your time in order to ensure that the beans reach that level of buttery softness that makes them so good – nothing spoils a bean like a crunch in the middle.

I altered the recipe to add some chicken, as I planned to make this an entree. If I wanted to have a vegetarian version I might add corn and peppers rather than leaving it just like it is. Perhaps from an American perspective it may seem very simple and it may need to be jazzed up a bit. In its original setting, this is a mainstay meal that is probably made several times a week.

1 cup pink beans (can use red if no pink beans available)
2 garlic cloves or 1/2 tsp Penzeys minced garlic
4-8 cups water (start with 4 and add as needed)
about 2 tb. vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp Penzeys chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
some chicken, at least 2 breast or 3 thighs; bone-in will have better results

In a medium pan,combine the beans*, garlic, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to an active simmer, add the chicken, and cook until the beans are soft, about 60-90 minutes. Check periodically and add liquid as needed, 1/2 cup at a time. Remove the chicken when it is done (starts falling apart) and shred it with forks. Set aside and keep warm.
Start some rice (or alternate starch of your choice) about halfway through.
Add some oil to a medium or large skillet and using a slotted spoon, transfer about half the beans to the pan. Return the shredded chicken to the remaining beans and liquid. The goal is to have a saucy, not soupy texture. Turn up heat to reduce liquid if needed. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes or until onion is soft. Mash some of the beans with a fork. Add the remaining beans and liquid, the chili powder and cumin, and cook all together for 5 more minutes. Serve over rice.

*The recipe specifically calls for unsoaked beans. If you want to cook this faster or like your beans very soft, it certainly can’t hurt, but reduce the amount of liquid.

Grant had purchased some fried pork skins from Hillside Orchard Farms in Tiger GA and thought that they made a great addition. I had some of my home made applesauce. We enjoyed this and I will be making it again.

Do you enjoy classic adventure TV? I’m reliving some great shows from my own childhood with my four year-old son. Come join the fun at Fire-Breathing Dimetrodon Time!