We got back from our mini vacation on a Wednesday, and I decided to take Thursday and Friday off because why not? I have a good amount of PTO this year since my kids are at the age where they don’t really get sick often and have officially fought every daycare/school illness known to man. (I totally just jinxed myself, didn’t I?)
I wish I could tell you I used those 2 days for something really fun and interesting but actually what I did was…organize my pajamas. And stuff like that. Because, I’m old.
But, I did want to make some new stuff while I had the time, and I was thinking about a really delicious sandwich I’d had from the local Caribbean place recently (Caribbean Corner, if you happen to be in the Western Chicago suburbs!), which spurred me to make something Caribbean-y. You can’t really go wrong with bowls because as my 5 year old will tell you, meals are better when they include lots of different things.
These were delicious! There isn’t really anything in here that we don’t eat regularly but they just all go together really well. The chicken has a bright, citrusy marinade (and I reserved some of the marinade that didn’t go on the chicken to drizzle over the top of everything), the beans and rice and comforting are and homey, the plantains sweet with just a tiny bit of spice, and the salad nice and fresh for that crisp counterpoint.
This recipe looks rather…long, but I promise it’s not difficult or terribly time consuming. The chicken can be marinated early in the morning and can cook while your beans and rice cook. You can also chop the salad and pan-fry the plantains during that same time. So, really, however long it takes to make the rice (about 40 minutes) plus a little prep time is how long it will take to make the meal.
You may have a little of the rice/bean mixture leftover depending on how big you make your portions. I am here to tell you it makes a delightful breakfast with an egg and some hot sauce the next morning. :)
Caribbean Chicken Bowls
Chicken adapted from Serious Eats, beans and rice adapted from Lourdes Castro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
kosher salt to taste (about 3/4 tsp.)
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 – 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken thighs or breasts
Rice and Beans:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 oz. bacon, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, cored/seeded, and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 cup white rice
1 (15 oz. can) black beans – NOT drained
1 cup water
1-1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
2 very ripe plantains, sliced into 3/4″ pieces
1/2 tsp. ancho (or other) chile powder
2 tsp. brown sugar
4 cups salad greens of your choice
1 cup grape or chopped tomatoes
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup reserved marinade
To make the chicken: Whisk together all of the ingredients except the chicken. Set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade and refrigerate for later use. Place the chicken and the remaining marinade in a shallow dish or resealable bag with the marinade. Marinate for 2-8 hours, turning the bag or chicken occasionally if you can. Grill, pan-fry, or broil the chicken until cooked through.
Meanwhile, make the rice and beans. Place your garlic on a cutting board with a pinch of salt. First chop and then finely mince and press the garlic using the side of your knife’s blade to help turn it into a paste. Set aside. Place the bacon and oil in a large saucepan (2.5-3 qt.) over medium-high heat. Saute until the bacon has rendered its fat and turns golden brown.
Add the onion, green pepper, garlic paste, bay leaf, cumin, oregano, and a pinch of salt to the bacon in the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir the rice into the pan and move it around a little so that it’s all coated in some oil. Add the beans along with their liquid, water, and vinegar to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Let the beans and rice rest for 5 minutes off the heat before fluffing with a fork.
To make the plantains: Heat a very large nonstick pan with the oil. Season the plantains with the chile powder and salt to taste. Place in the hot oil and pan-fry until the bottom is browned and plantain is mostly cooked. Flip the plantains over, sprinkle with the brown sugar, and continue to cook until the other side is browned and plantains are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
To assemble: Evenly distribute the salad greens, tomatoes, and avocado between bowls. Slice chicken and distribute between bowls. Finally, place the plantains and rice/beans in each bowl. Drizzle salad or entire bowl with reserved/refrigerated marinade.