I’ve taken the Quickie plunge! Now some of you may think I’ve gone off the deep end, but when you try these flavors, I think you’ll agree that this is a fun and flavorful meal. A few weeks ago, fellow bloggers Lazaro from Lazaro Cooks, and Denise from Quickies on the Dinner Table, announced a fun contest (The Quickie Challenge) centered on noodles. Since I already have some fun noodle dishes posted, and a ton of cellophane noodles left over from this fall’s Jap Chae experience, I originally thought I’d try to concoct a new cellophane noodle dish..
But then, one of my favorite grocers showed me this black bean noodle in the gluten-free section… at first I cringed and passed. I’m not a fan of beany tasting pasta- in fact, a big complaint I have with many gluten-free products and recipes is the over use of bean flours- which you need to get a higher protein and strength factor in your cooking. I’d rather eat my beans whole, thank you very much. But he stood there telling me how another lady says they’re her favorite, and he keeps them in stock just for her…. Well, I was intrigued, and my imagination started snapping…
I asked the kitchen-divas in training- “what ingredients do you think of when I say black-beans?” it was unanimous- tacos with chile, tomatoes, avocadoes, limes, cilantro- in other words, a flavor powerhouse.. So I plunged! Why not put a little black dress on the typically mundane pasta noodles, drag out the red chile and hit the dance floor? The result was surprising- and delicious. Surprising because the black bean noodles didn’t have the obnoxiously bean-y flavor I was expecting- and delicious, because let’s be honest- who doesn’t love tender chicken marinated in chipotle and lime, dancing with avocado, cilantro, onions and tomatoes? Topped with a tiny gluten free cornflour madeleine, this dish was both sassy and sweet! Taco pasta or a new incarnation of the little black dress? I’ll leave it to you to decide, but I will tell you, I’ve made this dish three times in the last 10 days, and there have been no leftovers! So put on your dancing shoes, get into in the kitchen and enjoy!
Black Bean Noodle Pasta with Chipotle Lime Chicken
1 bag black bean noodles- I used “Explore Asian Black Bean Spaghetti” by Navan Foods
1- 1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
1/3 cup lime juice (juice from 1 ½ big limes)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp chipotle powder (more if you like it really hot!)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of salt
3 twists of the pepper grinder
1 onion, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
3 green chiles, diced (more if you like it hot!)
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, diced
1 cup finely shredded jack cheese
A few hours prior to your meal, place the chicken breasts in a plastic ziplock bag, and beat them flat with a rolling pin, or other heavy object. Check the bag for holes. There shouldn’t be any since the rolling pin has no edges, but it’s best to check. Provided the bag is hole-free, add the lime juice, olive oil, chipotle, cumin, garlic powder and clove, and the salt and pepper. Seal the bag and work the marinade into the chicken. When the spices have been evenly distributed, place the bag in a bowl (to catch any accidental leaks) and leave in the refrigerator for a few hours. When you are ready to cook, remove the bowl from the fridge.
Fill a stock pot with water, and set it on the stove to boil. If it reaches a boil before it’s time to add the noodles, turn down the heat and allow to simmer.
Lightly oil a large saucepan- I use my favorite cast iron fryer- and turn heat to medium. When the pan is sizzling hot, remove chicken breasts from the marinade and lightly pat dry. This will get a good sear on the meat and help give it a nice color. Sear for 3 minutes on the first side, flip and sear for an additional 4 minutes on the second side. When chicken is very firm, remove to a cutting board and cover with aluminum- chicken will cook a bit longer under the aluminum tent.
Salt the boiling pasta water- usually two teaspoons is sufficient. Add the black bean pasta as soon as the chicken has been tented. If the heat was turned down prior to boiling, return the heat setting to medium-high. Allow the noodles to cook until they have softened- about 6-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the diced onions to the pan that held the chicken. If the onions stick initially, you can ladle a few tablespoons of the marinade into the pan to deglaze. When the onions are translucent, add half of the chopped tomatoes, and the green chiles. Allow the flavors to gently marry while the noodles are cooking.
When the pasta is cooked, drain, and add to the saucepan containing the tomatoes, onions and chiles. Give a quick stir to coat with the sauce and remove from the heat. Slice the chicken breasts diagonally. For presentation, place a nice mound of noodles in the center of each plate. Top with 4-5 slices of chicken, a sprinkle of the remaining fresh tomatoes, a sprinkle of avocado, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, and a tiny bit of jack cheese. If you like, squeeze a little wedge of lime over the noodles, and top with a gluten free cornflour madeleine (recipe below). There you have it- all the flavors of a good taco in a fresh format!
Gluten Free Cornflour Madeleines
½ cup tapioca starch
½ cup sweet rice flour
½ cup cornflour (not cornmeal- this is a fine, flour consistency)
½ tsp xanthan gum
6 oz salted butter
3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
Allow butter and eggs to come up to room temperature. Preheat oven to 450. Butter and flour a madeleine pan. Sift dry ingredients.
On a flat surface, using a pastry scraper or a spatula, mash and work the butter until it’s soft and creamy, and easily pliable. Place softened butter in a small bowl.
In a separate bowl, or in your stand mixer, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla on high speed until the mixture is thick and very pale yellow- about 2 minutes.
Place the dry ingredients in the sifter a second time, and sift one third of the mixture over the eggs. Fold in and sift another third. Fold again, and sift the last third over the egg mixture. Fold in, and then scoop a large dollop of the batter onto the butter. Fold into the butter, then scrape the butter mixture into the egg mixture. Fold gently, and when the batter is nicely mixed, allow it to rest a minimum of thirty minutes.
When you are ready to bake, fill the madeleine molds about 3/4ths full, and cook until the cookies are golden brown on top, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the pans and allow to cool.