This stewed chicken with pinto beans is unbelievably easy to make and so, so flavorful. Paired with a charred jalapeño cream cheese sauce, this stewed chicken recipe is mid-week meal perfection.
I just loved this dinner so much. I was actually inspired by a jalapeño cream cheese I saw on Half-Baked Harvest and decided to spin up my own version using charred jalapeño for an extra smoky, spicy flavor.
For the chicken, I used my new favorite spice blend, Sweet Chilifire made by Spicemode but you can use a mix of the following:
- Chili powder
- Cayenne powder
You could also use your favorite Mexican spice blend!
This stewed chicken with beans recipe is so easy to make and it’s loaded with big, bold flavors. The best part is definitely the charred jalapeño cream cheese. You can skip charring the jalapeños if you’re pressed for time, but I definitely recommend including that step. It just creates a wonderful smoky, creamy, spicy finish to the dish.
How to make this stewed chicken with pinto beans:
First, cook the aromatics and chicken. Heat a little oil in a deep skillet or wide pot. Add the onion and cook until it begins to turn translucent. Add the chopped chicken. You can use both thighs and chicken tenders or breasts or one or the other. I prefer using a mix of both, personally!
Let the chicken sizzle in the skillet until it begins to turn golden brown. From there, melt butter into the middle of the pot and add the spice blend. Cook for 1 minute, tossing the chicken regularly in the spices, until fragrant. Finish it off by adding beans, tomatoes, and a bit of water or chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30–40 minutes until thickened. Stir the chicken occasionally and if it’s sticking or evaporating too quickly, add a splash of more water as needed. You don’t want the finished product to be too soupy, so be sure to cook it down until it’s thick!
As the chicken is cooking, prepare your accompaniments–the rice, charred jalapeño cream cheese, and any garnishes you’d like such as cilantro or sliced cucumber. You could also serve this chicken over cooked quinoa!
Stewed Chicken with Pinto Beans
- Deep skillet
- Food processor
- Small, ovenproof skillet or use a small baking sheet
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil for frying
- 1 yellow onion peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken a mix of thighs and tenders or one or the other, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1½ tablespoons Sweet Chilifire Spice Blend or use a mix of chili powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne powder
- 15- ounce can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 15- ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1½ cups water or chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
Charred Jalapeño Cream Cheese Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 8- ounces spreadable cream cheese or use block cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 small bunch of cilantro
- 2 limes juiced
- 1–2 jalapeños
- Salt to taste
- Cooked white rice
- Sliced cucumber or diced avocado
- 4 lime wedges
- Fresh cilantro
Sauté the onion:
- Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3–5 minutes until it begins to sweat and turn translucent.
Fry the chicken:
- Pat the chicken dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the onion and cook in an even layer for 6–7 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Melt the butter into the chicken. Add the Sweet Chilifire blend to the chicken and toss to coat. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Simmer the chicken:
- Add the beans, tomatoes, and water to the skillet and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, then reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes until reduced and thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper once more.
Prepare the charred jalapeño cream cheese:
- Place the lime juice and cilantro in a food processor and pulse until minced. Add the cream cheese and pulse until smooth.
- Turn on the broiler. Remove the stems from the jalapeños. Place them in a small, ovenproof skillet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of neutral oil. Place under the broiler for 2–5 minutes until charred all over. Keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn!
- Place the charred jalapeños in the food processor with the cream cheese and pulse until completely blended and smooth. Taste and season with salt.
- Divide warm, cooked rice between bowls. Spoon the stewed chicken on top and drizzle each bowl with the charred jalapeño cream cheese. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!