Mexican Chicken & Brown Rice

Imagine this scenario: you get home after a long day, feeling tired and with no energy to cook a full meal, but your conscience is telling you to avoid that take-out counter. Sounds familiar? Well, even if it happens frequently or only once in a while, I’m sure it still happens to all of us.

A few nights ago, I was craving some Mexican food (one of my favourites) but didn’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking. After a quick inventory of my fridge and pantry, I found some brown rice, a jar of salsa verde (I always try to have one or two flavours of salsa on hand, they are so versatile!), and some boneless chicken thighs that were frozen solid in the freezer.

Those ingredients were all the inspiration I needed and the perfect mission for my trusty Instant Pot! A few minutes of prep, and soon a delicious homemade one-pot meal was ready (in less time than it would take us to order and get that take-out)! I just love that I can throw all the ingredients together (frozen chicken and all) in the Instant Pot and everything comes perfectly cooked, every bite infused with all the yummy flavours – and I’m not left with a stack of pots and pans to wash!

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make this recipe in a stove top pressure cooker, but you may have to increase the liquids a bit (regular pressure cookers release more moisture than the Instant Pot). If you try this, let me know how it goes.

Here’s the recipe I came up with.

Ingredients (6-8 servings):

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (I process some peeled garlic in the food processor with a bit of salt and olive oil, and keep the paste in a small glass jar in the fridge to use as needed)
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless skinless (cut into quarters, frozen or thawed)
  • 2 tsp of smoked paprika (can omit of your salsa has chipotle)
  • 2 tsp of taco seasoning (or 1 tsp each of cumin and chilli powder)
  • 2 cup of salsa verde (or the salsa of your choice)
  • 2 cups of brown rice (rinsed)
  • 2 1/2 cups of cooked black beans (can be canned, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Shredded cheese (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Turn on the Instant Pot in the “Sauté” mode, heat the oil, add the onions and cook for 2-3 mins, then add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring often.
  2. Add the chicken pieces (frozen or thawed), let the meat sear a bit, add the spices and mix well to coat.
  3. Add in the salsa, rice, beans, and stock. Stir to distribute the ingredients and place the lid on the Instant Pot.
  4. Press the “Cancel” button to stop the sauté program, turn the valve on the lid to the “Sealing” position, press the “Manual” button, and then press the “-” (minus) button to adjust the time to 26 minutes.
  5. When the cooking time ends, do a “Quick Release” on the pressure cooker, open the lid, stir the rice to distribute any leftover liquid and to “shred” the chicken a bit and add some chopped cilantro.
  6. Serve with more fresh cilantro to taste and a lime wedge to squeeze over the rice. Enjoy and ¡Buen provecho! 😉

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