Southwestern Chicken Stew Recipe – This flavorful chicken stew is made in less than 30 minutes! Tender chicken breast, black beans, corn and lots of veggies makes this stew the perfect hearty one pot meal for busy weeknights!
This hearty chicken stew recipe is one I prepare at home quite often. It is easy to make, nutritious and it can be easily customized by using any vegetables you prefer or have in your fridge.
Since my little one is vegetarian, I often cook a single meal that can be easily adapted to suit both a vegetarian and a carnivore. When I am short in time, I always make this comforting stew. I cook it vegetarian and add the chicken at the end and let it stew for a few extra minutes so the flavors meld together.
In this post I discuss the ingredients and substitutions for making this stew recipe, I show step by step instructions on how to make chicken stew, I answer some of the most frequently asked questions people have about this recipe and its ingredients and give you some of my favorite tips and notes. You will also learn how to make this chicken stew into a vegetarian stew! Let’s get to it or if you prefer, skip to the recipe – although you may be missing some good insights!
Ingredients to Make This Southwestern Chicken Stew
- Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breast – Cut into small bite size pieces for quick cooking. Use chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Olive Oil – Vegetable, avocado or coconut oil work as well.
- Onions – Brown, white or red onions, diced
- Bell Peppers – Diced. You can use a combination of green and red bell peppers as I did or any other color or combination of colors.
- Zucchini – Large diced so they don’t turn into mush! Yellow Squash can be use instead.
- Garlic – Minced. Use as many garlic cloves as you’d like!
- Ground Cumin – It adds a Tex Mex vibe to this tasty dish!
- Chicken Bouillon Powder – Cubes can be used as well. I usually buy the granules because I can use as little as I want without any waste.
- Chicken Broth – Homemade is best but store bought works as well. Who has time to make stock these days?
- Hot Sauce – Only if you want a little kick! Add as much or as little as you want. Cayenne powder is also a good substitute for the hot sauce.
- Corn – Fresh or frozen, it’s up to you! I always keep frozen bags of corn in my deep freezer in case of a zombie invasion.
- Black Beans – I use canned as they are so convenient. Rinsing is not a requirement unless you want pristine looking beans.
- Cilantro – Hate cilantro? Use parsley instead!
- Stewed Tomatoes – Diced or crushed tomatoes can be used instead.
How To Make This Chicken Stew Recipe
- In a blender or food processor, blend the stewed tomatoes with their juices. If using diced tomatoes, skip this step.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the chicken until slightly golden. Do it in batches not to overcrowd the pan (that produces steamed chicken instead).
- Remove the chicken from the pan and add the onions and bell peppers. Saute for a few minutes.
- Add the zucchini and saute for a minute.
- Add the garlic and cook for a minute or until it becomes aromatic.
- Add the tomatoes, broth, ground cumin and bouillon. Mix well.
- Add the corn, black beans and chicken and cook covered for a few minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Uncover and add the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve!
Frequently Asked Questions about this Stew Recipe
- Can I use chicken thighs to make chicken stew?
Absolutely! Boneless and skinless chicken thighs are so juicy and flavorful and a great option for this stew.
- Can you prepare this stew ahead of time?
Yes, this stew will keep in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. It reheats well.
- What’s the difference between canned stewed tomatoes and canned diced tomatoes?
Stewed tomatoes are made with ripe peeled tomatoes that are stewed with other vegetables, like celery and carrots plus other seasonings and then canned in the flavorful liquid. Diced tomatoes are also ripe and peeled tomatoes, mechanically chopped and canned in tomato juice.
- Do I have to puree the stewed tomatoes?
No, actually you can add them whole however, the consistency of the stew won’t be the same and you may need to add a little extra broth. I started pureeing stewed tomatoes because my kids don’t like big chunks of cooked tomato (some can be huge!). Although I could just add crushed tomatoes, I love the flavor of stewed tomatoes.
- How do I turn this Southwestern Chicken Stew into a vegetarian stew?
Easy! Skip the 2nd and 3rd steps on the recipe card, use vegetable broth and vegetable bouillon. Or skip the bouillon and add 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder for extra flavor!
Tips and Notes about this Chicken Stew Recipe
- If you are on a sugar free diet, check the labels of the canned tomatoes. Some have added sugar.
- Use dried garlic if you don’t have any fresh garlic handy.
- Chicken and vegetable stews can be frozen for 1-2 months. I personally freeze individual portions as they are easier to defrost.
- Although this hearty dish is a meal on its own, sometimes we love serving it with white rice, cauliflower rice or quinoa. It is also excellent with just a piece of bread to soak up all the delicious gravy sauce.
- This recipe is gluten free.
- Check out these other chicken recipes:
Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Mexican Style
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Easy Southwestern Chicken Stew Recipe
- 1 (15-ounces) can stewed tomatoes (original or Mexican recipe)
- 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, diced
- ½ cup bell pepper, diced (green and red)
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon or vegetable bouillon granules
- ½ cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce such as Crystal or Louisiana (optional)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 (15-ounces) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- Place the stewed tomatoes with their juices in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes or until lightly golden on all sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside (The chicken will not be completely cooked through). You may need to do this in batches not to overcrowd the pan.
- Heat the remaining oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook for about 2-3 minutes stirring often. Add the zucchini and cook stirring often for about 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute or until aromatic.
- Stir in the blended stewed tomatoes, cumin, broth, bouillon and hot sauce. Add the corn, black beans, chicken and mix to combine. Cover and simmer for about 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Uncover and stir in the cilantro. Season to taste with salt ad pepper and serve.
- You can use diced or crushed tomatoes instead of stewed tomatoes. Skip the blending in this case.
- You can substitute parsley for cilantro if you prefer.
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