Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sweet As Pie: Spicy Chipotle Chicken Chili

Yes, this is another January recipe. But I made it before February 15, so it still counts, right?

PW: Spicy Chiptole Chicken Chili

Verdict: Hearty and spicy. Quick enough to cook, and easy to customize.
Cook it again: Yes.
Cost Factor: $16ish

This is a recipe that intrigued me for two reasons.  First, we typically have all the ingredients in the house.  Second, I love a good chili, and leftover chili is even better.

Here's what you need:

Sneaky orange snuck its way in!  Never fear: this is an orange-free chili.

For the record, that's a large onion, a beer, garlic, 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast, a can of diced tomatoes, and a can each of dark red, light red, and northern beans.

For the record, it doesn't matter what kind of beans you use. Those are just the ones I had and enjoy in chili.

For the record, PW says the same thing.

You dice the onion and garlic and cook them in some oil in until they are soft.  I used a stockpot, and that's another good thing about this recipe: it's a one-pot deal. While the onions and garlic are softening, you dice up the uncooked chicken. Note: try your hardest to pay attention and not burn the garlic and onions.  This part proved a bit challenging for me last night!

When the onions and garlic are soft, add the diced chicken to the pot. Stir it around in the pot with the onions and garlic, until the chicken is cooked on all four sides. (Not necessarily cooked through -- just browned/seared/whatever-ed.)

Then dump in most of the beer, and cook it until the alcohol burns off.

After a few minutes, you can dump in all the other players.  That would be the beans, tomatoes, and some seasonings (chili powder, cumin, and salt).

Stir it up, and add some chipotles.  I was so frustrated last night -- I thought I had three cans of chiptole peppers in the pantry, but when I went to grab them, it turned out they were green chiles!  Mick was kind enough to do an emergency grocery run.  The stupid chipotles were $4 a can!  He picked up three cans; we're not going to run out again for a while, because this recipe only called for a single can.  That gave us about 4 peppers, which was actually probably a pepper too many.  Chipotles in adobo sauce are SPICY. We didn't try to serve this to the kids, and certainly couldn't have served it to anyone who isn't keen on spicy food.  PW says to start small with the peppers and then add more to taste.  If you've never cooked with chipotles before, heed that advice!  We knew that chipotles are potent, but seriously: be careful. It id a very quick transition from hot to unbearable.

When all the players are in the pot, cover it and walk away for an hour.  I probably gave it 90 minutes -- I didn't really pay attention.  About 10 minutes before you're ready to serve, make a paste of the cornmeal and remaining beer (or crack yourself a new one and pour out the first little bit, which was definitely my approach to this step!) and stir it into the chili. Also stir in juice of one lime.  PW uses the beer/masa as a thickening agent and to add a mild corn undertone to the chili.  I have to admit that it worked as a thickening agent, but my sophisticated palate I didn't really taste the corn. Of course, she said to use masa harina, and I got masa something-something that was not harina. It's tricky, getting Mexican stuff up here!  So maybe it made a difference in the flavor, but if you don't do it you won't really miss it.

Here is the finished product -- served with cheese and sour cream.

It was exactly what you'd want from a chili: hearty, spicy, and filling.  I wouldn't say it was extraordinary but it certainly wasn't bad, and it definitely had some heat!  I'd make it again, at any rate.  Besides, it was nice to have this going on the stove while my friend Becca was hanging out with us on a low-key Friday night.  It was the perfect meal for that kind of evening -- 20 minutes of prep time, and then we were able to hang out and bust out the competitive Wheel of Fortune skills while dinner cooked in the background.  And then it was equally great to sit on the couch cuddled up with bowls of chili while we watched the Olympics ... so no, it's not extraordinary, but as an easy chili, it's definitely a keeper of a recipe.


p.s. I didn't realize how blurry these pictures all were last night. I promise you that was not the beer ... it was operator error on the camera and a headache running in the background.  Better pictures next time, for sure!

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