Chicken With Black Beans, Spices and Sweet Potatoes 4.000

Matt McClain/The Washington Post

Feb 12, 2014

The spices in this one-pot stew give it an island profile, and the orange juice keeps it clean-tasting and light. It takes about an hour to make, start to finish.

Leaving the chicken's skin on might bump the recipe's nutritional profile out of the "healthy" zone, but there's flavor and texture to be had when you do. For maximum skin-on crispness, arrange the chicken pieces skin side up and slightly exposed above the level of the liquid.

Using rotisserie chicken will save several steps; see the VARIATION, below.

Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 4 large chicken thighs or leg/thigh quarters, bone-in, skin-on
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 12 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and cut into medium dice
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, cut into medium dice (jarred is fine)
  • 15 ounces cooked or canned no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained


Heat a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the chicken pieces well with salt and pepper on both sides.

Add the oil to pot, then arrange the chicken pieces skin side down. (You may have to do this in batches.) Cook for about 8 minutes, undisturbed, until the skin is golden brown; the chicken will not be cooked through. Transfer to a plate, skin side up.

Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the onion and stir to coat. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring often, then add the ginger, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir for 1 minute. Add the orange juice, broth and garlic; use the greater amount of juice or broth depending on how much citrus flavor you prefer. Once the mixture is bubbling at the edges, season the liquid well with salt, stirring so the vegetables will get the benefit of that seasoning.

Return the chicken to the pot, skin side up; seat it in the liquid just deep enough so the skin remains exposed. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a clean plate, skin side up.

Stir in the sweet potatoes, poblano and bell pepper; return the chicken to the pot, skin side up. Cook, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is tender yet firm enough to hold its shape. Stir in the black beans; once the mixture is bubbling at the edges, taste and season lightly with salt and pepper as needed. Reduce the heat to low.

Discard the chicken skin from each piece, if desired, then return the chicken to the pot. (If the skin is still on the chicken, make sure the skin is not submerged in the stew.) Divide among individual bowls. Serve hot.

VARIATION: Instead of using chicken thighs, roughly shred meat from store-bought roast chicken and add to the stew at the same time as the beans. You'll need to reduce both the orange juice and chicken stock amounts to 1/2 cup each.

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Recipe Source

From Susan Holt, chef and co-owner of CulinAerie in the District.

Tested by Sally Squires.

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