Southwestern Chicken and Rice Stir-Fry

Chicken rice stir fry

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  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

If you like chicken but are ready for a change from all your same-ole-same-ole dishes, try this easy stir-fry tonight — you may very well even have all the ingredients in your freezer, fridge, and cupboards. This Asian-Mexican dish is simple to make, delicious, and will make great leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons pork leaf lard (sesame oil, or vegetable oil)
  • 4 chicken breasts (sliced, strips 1/2 inch wide)
  • 1 red onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 3 cups Mexican rice (cold)
  • 1 (15 ounces) can pinto beans (drained, rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Soy sauce or salt (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of lard or oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Add the strips of chicken and stir-fry for 10 minutes.

  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook together for another 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

  3. Reduce heat to low. Add the rice, beans, 2 tablespoons of chili powder, and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Continue to stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until heated through. Add soy sauce or salt to taste.

  4. Serve immediately. Any leftovers will keep nicely in the fridge; reheat in skillet or microwave for a delicious “re-run” of flavors.

Tip

  • Chicken breasts are much easier to slice with a knife if they are semi-frozen, so stick them in the freezer for an hour before using and you’ll have to work a little less hard. If there’s no time to freeze your chicken, cut it into strips with kitchen scissors instead of a knife.

Recipe Variations

  • Add some Mexican vegetables to the mix. Try some diced summer squash (zucchini or similar) or some thinly sliced chayote; add at the same time as the onion and garlic. Don’t forget a little seeded and diced jalapeño or serrano pepper, too, if you like heat.
  • Include an Asian-style vegetable or two, if you prefer: fresh, tender snow peas or bean sprouts work well, or how about some (drained) canned bamboo shoots?
  • Trade some or all of the rice for cooked hominy. If using canned hominy, drain it thoroughly first.
  • Include some diced or thinly sliced fresh jicama in your stir-fry to add fiber, fun, and a crunchy element to the mix. Chinese-style restaurants in Mexico often use jicama in their dishes since water chestnuts are exotic and difficult to come by there.
  • When serving, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds or a mixture of finely diced raw onion and chopped cilantro over the top of each portion.