FOR THE CHICKEN AND RICE & BEANS:
2 Tablespoons oil, divided
2 small onions, diced (about 1 cup)
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper (red or green), diced
2.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups long-grain white rice
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
32 ounces chicken stock or broth
2 – 15.5 ounce canned beans (black, red, pinto, or a combination!), drained and rinsed
FOR THE SPICE MIX:
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne (or more, to taste)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
FOR THE FAJITAS:
2 onions, sliced into half moons
2 bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
24 or more 4-inch corn or whole wheat flour tortillas, warmed
8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, grated
For the rice and beans, heat a skillet or high-sided stockpot to medium high and add 1 Tablespoon of oil. Sauté onions, garlic, and bell pepper for about 5 minutes or until the onion is almost translucent. Place chicken
thighs into the pot among the vegetables.
For the spice mix: combine all of the spices listed in a small bowl. Once the chicken is browned on one side (about 3 to 5 minutes), flip, and sprinkle 1 ½ Tablespoons of the spice mixture on the chicken and vegetables.
For the rice & beans: Add the rice and toast for one to two minutes, stirring gently. Add the stock or broth to the pot and ensure most of the rice grains are submerged (and not sitting on top of the chicken thighs). Stir in tomato
paste and beans, cover, and bring to a simmer.
Control the heat so that the liquid does not boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the liquid appears to be mostly absorbed by the rice.
Test the chicken with a thermometer to make sure it has reached 165⁰ F and turn off the heat. Remove the chicken from the rice and beans, smoothing out the rice mixture so that it’s evenly spread out, but do not stir. Leave the rice uncovered to cool.
For the fajitas: slice the chicken into thin strips. Preheat a griddle to medium heat and add remaining Tablespoon of oil. Sauté sliced onion and pepper, stirring frequently for about 15 minutes or until soft. About halfway through, sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of the spice mixture onto the vegetables and stir to combine. With about 2 minutes remaining, create some space for the sliced chicken and add to the griddle. Sprinkle chicken with one more tablespoon of spice mixture and combine with peppers and onions.
To serve: place a couple of pieces of sliced chicken with peppers and onions on top of a tortilla, a pinch of cheese, and a scoop of pico de gallo with rice & beans on the side.