May 24, 2014 by Dewi
I’m a huge advocate of anything that saves on the washing up, which is why I’m such a fan of one pot meals like this Mexican pulled chicken. There’s a brilliantly satisfying sense of freedom when cooking without the abiding dread of later facing huge stacks of dirty pans, pots and trays. It’s fun, too: just hovering over one big pan, spoon in hand, adding bits and bobs as you go.
You can think of it in terms of piecing together a puzzle. One ingredient might not fit perfectly with another just yet, but a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lime might make the whole jigsaw come together to form the foodie picture you’d imagined. Oh and more importantly, after you’ve cooked and eaten, there’s only ONE PAN to wash.
This recipe actually came together a couple of Sundays ago when I was facing a very busy week. Knowing I wouldn’t have heaps of time to spend in the kitchen, I needed something I could cook in batch and, when I got home in the evenings, just grab a portion straight from the fridge. What resulted was this spicy chicken stew. It’s basically a Mexican style chilli, but with slowly cooked chicken which you then ‘pull’ by shredding the meat with a couple of forks. It’s a comforting dish – as any stew should be – but with lively heat from the chillies and citrus freshness from the lime and coriander. Beans for bulk, corn for colour.
I consider this dish a good base for lots of other meals, too. You could have this stew wrapped up in a tortilla with avocado and lettuce, scooped into taco shells with a fresh tomato salsa, as a filling for cheesy baked enchiladas or heaped over jacket potatoes with cooling sour cream. The obvious choice is to simply serve this alongside some fluffy rice, but this, I’m afraid, would likely involve having to wash one whole other pan and there are just some days when – in the immortal words of YouTube marvel Kimberley Wilkins – ain’t nobody got time for that.
- 1kg chicken (a mix of thighs and breasts, skinless and boneless)
- 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
- 2 bell peppers (red or yellow) finely chopped
- 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 4-6 chillies, finely chopped (leave the seeds out if you like)
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp each of ground cumin, cinnamon and oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- 400g tin of kidney beans, drained
- 200g sweetcorn (frozen is fine)
- Juice of 1 lime, plus extra wedges to serve
- Large bunch of fresh coriander, leaves separated from the stalks
Put your ONE large pan over a high heat and add a splash of oil.
Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper and brown all over in the hot pan.
Remove the browned chicken and turn the heat down to medium.
Add the onions, peppers and celery and cook until softened (about 7-8 minutes)
Add the garlic, chilli and chopped coriander stalks. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
Stir in all of the spices and the oregano and cook for 1 minute.
Now add the tomatoes, the tomato purée, the bay leaf and the chicken.
Give the whole lot a big stir and season with salt and pepper.
Simmer gently with the lid on over a medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
Add the beans and sweetcorn and simmer for a further 30 minutes, removing the lid for the last 20 minutes of cooking.
Now carefully remove the chicken, place on a board and use a couple of forks to shred the meat.
Return the ‘pulled’ chicken to the pan, add the juice of one whole lime and check the seasoning.
Stir in the chopped coriander leaves (reserving some for garnish).
Top with the remaining coriander and serve with the extra lime wedges.