Oct 17, 2010

Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili!

It was 39 degrees outside when I woke up this morning, I’ve had my first scarf wearing day, I saw my breath walking to class one morning and I got a bug that gave me the aches and took my voice away. I think I can officially say that fall is finally arriving! I’m so excited for all the fall flavors that are already starting to take over my weekly meals. Homemade meals always bring me comfort but there is something about the fall and winter dishes that scream comfort without even trying! Butternut squash is always at the top of my list but I have to admit my mom and I said “cranberries” in unison with a bit of excitement when we saw fresh cranberries for the first time at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago! For me, that is the true sign that even if the weather doesn’t emulate it, fall is here!

I will make chili any time of year if I have a taste for it, but it’s on the fall and winter evenings that chili tastes its best! I know I shared a white chicken chili before, and I think that is definitely a lighter more versatile chili that works in the summer or winter. But I have another chili that uses chicken but resembles your classic chili a little more closely. Chili is the ultimate comfort food for some and people spend lots of time perfecting it for their fall chili cook off competitions. For some serious chili fans I guess the chicken could be shocking (maybe appalling?) but I’m not the biggest fan of red meat and in my opinion there is no taste lacking or slacking in this recipe! If you want a delicious alternative to the classic chili or you need a unique way to use your chicken for dinner, this is a great recipe to add to the books!

Here’s everything you’ll need:


(Adapted from Ina Garten. Makes 2-4 servings, depending on your serving size.)

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (yellow is also a good option)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • sprinkle of red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 3/4-1 can of black beans, drained
  • 3/4-1 can of red kidney beans, drained
  • cheddar cheese, shredded, optional

As usual, the chicken needs to be put in the oven first! To keep things simple, I put salt and pepper on each side of the chicken breast with a touch of olive oil and baked them in the oven. You don’t need much seasoning on the chicken because your chili will take care of that for you once the chicken is added to the mix! As a side, this is also a great dish to throw together if you have chicken left over from a previous meal. You’ll make an easy dinner that much more simple and fast!

With your chicken baking away, you can put your energy towards the rest of the dish. On medium heat,  warm about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot. Add your chopped onion and let this saute for just a few minutes, until the onion gets clear and soft. Add in your garlic and let cook for about 2 minutes. Next up are the red and green bell peppers.

The start of chicken chili: onion, garlic, red bell pepper and green bell pepper.

Add your can of diced tomatoes, juices included. With everything getting a good stir and a few minutes to warm up, it’s time to add your seasonings and make your kitchen smell like chili!! Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper and make sure to give things a good mix. After a few minutes, go ahead and your black beans and red kidney beans. Things start to get a little packed at this point, but the flavors start to meld together and they smell delicious!

A packed pot of chicken chili, minus the chicken still baking in the oven!

The hard part is now done and you just need to let your pot simmer, uncovered, on the stove for about 20 minutes. This will give your chicken time to finish baking in the oven and once done, you can go ahead and chop it up. Add the chicken to your pot and let things cook for another 10-15 minutes. That’s it! Sprinkle some cheddar cheese on the top of your bowl and you’re ready to enjoy!

Chicken chili complete!

This is A LOT of stuff packed into your pot and if you feel that the chili is a bit too thick for your preference you can certainly add a little chicken broth to loosen things up a bit. The nice thing about this recipe is that you have a great base that you can add to or adapt in ways that fit what you like. With the two beans and chicken, this is a protein packed bowl but just add one of the beans if it’s too much. I remember the yellow peppers not looking too great the night we made this so we switched to a green pepper, but use orange or yellow if you want. If you wanted to go completely meatless, put in the whole can of each bean, add a few more veggies and I think this could be hearty enough as a vegetarian meal! There are tons of possibilities to make this chicken chili your own! Any way you make it, I promise you’ll find it’s easy, fast, and not lacking a bit of chili flavor despite the absence of the typical red meat component. My mom had to make this only one time and I was immediately sold! Try it out, and I’m sure you will agree! For now, that’s chicken chili…in the shell of a nut!

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