Brazilian Chicken with Black Beans from the American Institute for Cancer Research


In its ongoing effort to promote healthy, cancer-preventive lifestyle choices among the public, the American Institute for Cancer Research and author Dana Jacobi create dishes that are nutritious and delicious and excellent for our health. This week's entry from the AICR is a Brazilian chicken with black beans.

Brazilian cooking in the United States is not nearly as well known as other cuisines from other parts of the world, which seems odd considering Brazilians must eat and yet they still manage to "look good in their infamously skimpy bikinis" in the words of Jacobi. Brazilian cuisine brings together several influences, including Portuguese, African and native Indian. It also sometimes features ingredients so unique as to be impossible to find for the average American.

In this dish Jacobi notes:

I streamlined the cooking time in my version of Brazilian Chicken and Black Beans by using canned beans rather than dried. In addition to saving time, this lets me prepare the dish to serve four rather than the huge potful that Schwartz cooks up to feed a crowd … A perfect dish for a convivial summer supper, see how the bay leaf and allspice used in the stew, and fresh oranges served with it, make this feijoada samba with Brazilian flavor.

As always, all recipes offered by the AICR have been vetted and approved by a registered dietitian (RD).

Brazilian Chicken with Black Beans

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 2 lb. skinless chicken thighs with bone or skinless breast with ribs or combination
  • ½ cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1¼ cups chopped onion
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • ¾ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ¾ cup chopped scallions, green and white parts
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 (15 oz. cans) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large navel orange, cut in 6 wedges


In large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, 4 minutes on each side. Using tongs, transfer chicken to large bowl. Cover bowl with foil. Add broth and scrap bottom of pot while it boils, gathering up all browned bits. Add broth to chicken. Seal foil tightly over bowl and set chicken aside. Using paper towel, wipe out pot.

Return pot to medium-high heat and add remaining oil. Add onion, celery, green pepper and scallions to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add bay leaves and sprinkle nutmeg over vegetables. Arrange chicken pieces over vegetables, reserving liquid in bowl. Spread beans over the chicken. Pour liquid from bowl over beans. Cover and simmer until chicken thighs are falling-apart tender, 30-35 minutes. If using breast, cook until white in center at thickest part, 20-25 minutes.

To serve, divide chicken among six dinner plates. Remove bay leaf. Mix to combine beans and vegetables, and season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Spoon two-thirds cup of beans and vegetables alongside chicken and liquid from pot over chicken. Garnish with parsley and orange wedges. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Leftovers keep in tightly covered container in refrigerator for 4 days.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 330 calories, 10 g total fat, (1.5 g saturated fat), 28 grams carbohydrates, 32 grams protein, 9 grams dietary fiber, 180 mg sodium.

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