Cooking on a budget: chipotle honey-roast chicken and pinto beans
Last weekend I experienced my most embarrassing grocery shop ever.
I had skipped into the store with a spring in my step. It was a beautiful day and I was wearing a cute summer dress and a pair of white plimsolls. I filled my cart with veggies and then went to grab some fresh tomato soup in a plastic container from the fridge.
As I did, I dropped it and it fell, hitting the bottom shelf and exploding everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I do mean everywhere. All over the shelves, up the inside of the glass door, all down my dress, my shins … and a hefty dose landing on my right shoe.
I looked around and everyone was so embarrassed for me; they were pretending they hadn’t witnessed it. I started trying to clear up but I was really just spreading tomato soup far and wide. It was at that point I was rescued by a friend. We wiped down everything as best we could, in hysterics …. because if you have a partner in these moments it’s much easier to see the funny side. Once we had finished, I was solo again though!
If I was younger, I would have run away from the store, never to be seen again. Instead, because I had hungry kiddos and an Irishman at home, I finished the shop covered in soup and with one red shoe. Just to compound the embarrassment, almost everyone I knew in Bermuda happened to be in the store that day. I had almost recovered by bedtime, but as I stood in front of the mirror and wiped off my mascara I also removed some stray tomato and basil from my eyelid. Bloody soup. It really did get everywhere.
A few days later, despite the trauma, I’ve found myself having to be friends with soup again. That’s because it’s such a budget-friendly way of feeding a family or making a week’s worth of lunches all in one pan. It’s especially good for using up fading vegetables that might have been in the fridge just a bit too long. In early April, I gave you an amazing recipe for Tuscan lemon and cannellini bean soup that’s had tonnes of great feedback. I’ll post it on social media again for those of you who missed it. Make a batch and use it for fast weeknight dinners or for lunches at work. You won’t regret it!
Given how expensive groceries are getting at the moment, I thought we’d focus on some great recipes for batch-cooking over the next few weeks. Batch-cooking is cost-effective but time-efficient too — and goodness knows, most of us need both!
This recipe is a real winner and uses lots of store cupboard items. The jalapeño is optional but the lime is an absolute must in my opinion as it cuts through the honey and really seals the deal on the Mexican flavour.
Chipotle honey-roast chicken and pinto beans (4 servings)
Olive oil cooking spray
1 tbsp honey
2½ tsp light olive oil, divided
1 tsp lime zest plus 2 tsp fresh lime juice, divided
¼ tsp plus ⅛ tsp chipotle chile powder, divided
½ tsp sea salt, divided
Pinch fresh ground black pepper
4 skinless chicken breasts
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped seeded jalapeño chile pepper (optional)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray.
2) In a small bowl combine honey, 2 tsp olive oil, lime juice, ¼ tsp chile powder, ¼ tsp salt and black pepper.
3) Using paper towels, pat chicken dry and place on prepared sheet. Brush chicken evenly with honey mixture. Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes, turning over halfway, until golden brown and chicken reaches 165°F when tested with an instant-read thermometer in thickest part. Remove from oven, cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken to dip both sides in caramelised juices on sheet. (Alternatively, use a brush to brush it on.)
4) Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan on medium, heat remaining ½ tsp oil. Add onion, garlic, jalapeño, remaining ⅛ tsp chile powder and remaining ¼ tsp salt. Sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté for 1 minute. Add beans and broth, and bring to a simmer on medium-high. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes more. Stir in lime zest and 2 tbsp cilantro.
5) Divide beans among shallow bowls and top each serving with 1 piece of chicken. Drizzle any remaining juices from baking pan over chicken and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp cilantro.
6) Ideally, serve with some green veg too. I often steam frozen veggies as a healthy option, or just stir in some spinach leaves (which wilt in the sauce) for a quick option.
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram