Chicken Chili

October 13, 2013

Chicken Chili - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

We have been BUSY around here.  With Desi starting school and Stella being at that age where she doesn’t sleep all the time anymore and is into EVERYTHING, I haven’t had time to do much of anything other than cook dinner and do dishes.  The rest of the (extremely dirty) house and my side projects have definitely suffered.  But fall is here, and I’m cooking new and fun things again, so I’m doing my best to make time to post about them.
Charred Veggies - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

My husband raved about this chili, and actually got really protective over the leftovers. I knew this meant that he really REALLY liked it, because usually I’m the only one in this house that eats any leftovers.  The charred veggies gives the chili a little bit of a smoky flavor…it’s very different than any chili I’ve ever made.  So I’m definitely making it again, even though that means I’ll have to make Desi his own little pot of chili because this one has meat in it AND is pretty spicy. But that’s ok…more leftovers for us.

Chicken Chili

adapted from Martha Stewart Living

10 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 jalapeno (or I used a Fresno because the jalapenos didn’t look that good)

1 yellow onion, peeled and halved

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 3/4-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2″ cubes

1/4 cup chili powder


2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

2-14 oz. cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat broiler, with rack 3 inches from heat source.  Arrange tomatoes, jalapeno and onion, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet.  Broil until starting to char, about 5 minutes.  Pulse tomatoes and jalapeno in food processor until chunky.  Chop onion and mince garlic.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add oil.  Working in batches, brown chicken in a single layer, allowing to sear before stirring, 5-6 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium.  Add onion to skillet.  Cook until soft and golden, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chili powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring for one minute.  Stir in chipotles, and drain fat off chicken and add chicken to the pot.  Raise heat to high.  Add tomato-jalapeno mixture.  Cook, scraping up browned bits, until fully incorporated, 3-5 minutes.  Stir in stock; simmer for 20 minutes.  Add beans, simmer for 10 minutes.  We served topped with sour cream and tortilla chips on the side…it would also be great with shredded cheese and chopped avocados, and with corn bread on the side.


Aunt Suzy says . . .

It’s that “chili time of year”, and, not wanting to get bored with the same old-same old, I am always searching for new and different chili recipes.  I can’t say that every single new recipe I’ve made has been fabulous, but I’m not a chili purist and love experimenting.  (See our recipes on White Chili and one made with Sriracha sauce) I saw this recipe in the February Food & Wine and thought it looked worth a try. We really enjoyed it!  The original recipe, which I made a few tweaks to, was from Art Smith, a former private chef of Oprah’s.  He swears this is Oprah’s favorite chili :-). We thought it was darn good and will include it in our regular rotation when it’s chili weather!  Don’t be daunted by the number of ingredients; it was very easy to put together.


2 pounds ground turkey

2 tablespoons EV olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 red or green bell pepper, diced (I used green – red’s are pricey right now)

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2-2 tablespoons chile powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2-1 chipotle chile in adobe, rinsed, seeded and finely diced

3/4 cup good quality beer or ale (I used Rush River Winter Ale)

1 cup chicken stock or broth

1 28-ounce can tomato puree or diced tomatoes

3 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or 4-5 cups cooked pinto beans)

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme

Garnishes of your choice – we used just cilantro and felt it didn’t need anything else


Coat the bottom of a large Dutch oven with the olive oil and saute the onion, carrot and bell pepper until soft and beginning to brown – about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute 1-2 minutes.  Add the chile powder, cumin, oregano and chipotle pepper and saute for a couple of more minutes.  Add the beer and chicken stock/broth and stir to blend all thoroughly.  Add the tomato puree or diced tomatoes, pinto beans and vinegar.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes.

While chili is simmering, brown the turkey in a large skillet over medium high heat in two batches so that it browns and doesn’t stew.  Remove the browned turkey with a slotted spoon and stir into the chili toward the end of the 45-60 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and the fresh thyme.  Delicious with corn chips or corn bread.


Aunt Suzy says . . .

Thank goodness it’s gotten back to normal fall weather!  The first 11 days of October were 80 degrees up here in the northern climes of Minnesota – unheard of!  At first I loved how warm it was, but after a few days I starting yearning for the cool, crisp air of fall.  Since our temps are more autumn-like now, I thought it was time for a pot of chili.  I’m always looking for unusual recipes for chili so this one caught my eye.  Chili purists may argue with this approach, but this recipe is really tasty.  Randy says that it needs to become part of our regular rotation, if for no other reason than it makes the house smell fabulous!  We served it with Harvey Cornbread – a must around here with a bowl of chili, no matter what kind it is.  A dark beer or glass of Zinfandel (that isn’t too high in alcohol) taste great with this dish.

November 2012 update:  We served this over brown rice and loved it.  I think we might serve this way from now on!

Margaux says…

This was definitely a hit in my house, too!  I always love anything with butternut squash in it, and my husband and sister-in-law both liked it as well, especially because of how spicy it is.  The only downside to making things on the spicy side around here is that I have to come up with something different for my son to eat…he used to like spicy foods, but everything now has to be served mild and at room temperature for his sensitive toddler tongue!

The only different thing I’ll do next time is just go ahead and throw a fourth sausage in (they come 4 to a package, and it would have been just as good with the extra sausage in it).  Otherwise, it was great!

Makes 6-8 servings, more if you serve over rice

1 small butternut squash

Canola Oil – for roasting the squash and for sauteing the sausage

3 soft chorizo sausages, split lengthwise then sliced in 1/4-inch half moons (I used AmyLu’s chicken chorizo available at Whole Foods)

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 poblano pepper, membranes and seeds removed, cut in ½-inch pieces

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2-3 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

28-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes (I used Fire Roasted)

2-3 cups chicken stock (depending on how “brothy” you want the chili)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon sriracha, plus extra for serving

1 bay leaf

1 large can of black beans, drained and rinsed (2 cups)

salt and pepper to taste

Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped for serving

Chopped fresh avocado for serving

Prepare the squash: Preheat the oven to 400.  Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Cut in 1/2-3/4-inch slices.  Line a large jelly-roll pan with foil and spread a little canola oil over the surface.  Place the slices of squash on the oiled foil, turning once to coat both sides.  Bake for a total of 15 minutes, turning slices over half-way through.  Remove from oven and place cooked slices on a platter to cool.  When cool, peel and cut into 1/2-inch dice.  Set aside 3 cups of the diced squash. (Set aside any additional squash for another use.)

Make the chili:  Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage pieces and saute for about 5 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and saute for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the peppers; saute 3-5 more minutes, until all begin to soften. Add the garlic and stir to blend, cooking an additional minute. Add the dry spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the tomato paste and stir to blend.  Add the tomatoes with their juices, the chicken stock, the reserved cooked sausage, the Sriracha and bay leaf. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the cubed squash and black beans. Simmer 15 more minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  NOTE:  I felt that additional salt was not necessary, given both the sausage and tomatoes added plenty of salt.

Serve in bowls garnished with cilantro, chopped avocado and a drizzle of sriracha.

NOTE:  Like many recipes of this ilk, all quantities are subject to adjustment.  I used more chili powder and more chicken stock than originally called for, as an example.

White Chili - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Aunt Suzy says . . . .

White Chili – delicious but not widely known!  When I moved to Minnesota from the San Francisco Bay area years ago, my co-workers threw me a going away party. They were instructed to bring a gift that would either remind me of  California or prepare me for Minnesota.  One of the gifts was a box of white food designed to introduce me to the cuisine of Minnesota – things like marshmallow fluff, mayonnaise, white rice, etc.  This was a hoot, but I didn’t think much further about it until my first week in Minnesota when I found myself in a Lund’s restaurant on a chilly day with my new Minnesota co-workers.  I saw chili on the menu and thought it sounded perfect.  When I ordered it, the server asked me if I wanted the white chili or the red chili – white chili?  Of course, I had to order the white given my white food gift and I loved it! I had never heard of white chili before, but I knew I had arrived in Minnesota.  This is an adaptation of the dish I first had 17 years ago!

Cooks Notes:  This recipe calls for chicken or turkey broth and chicken or turkey meat.  It is easily made meatless or vegetarian by substituting mock chicken broth powder+water for the broth and omitting the meat.  I almost always make this with canned beans, using a combination of great northern and cannellini.  Today, I decided to start with dried beans, same combination.  What a delightful difference in flavor – but then it takes extra time.  Either way, this freezes well so make a bunch!


1 pound dried or 3 15-ounce cans white beans

6-8 cups chicken or turkey stock OR water with mock chicken broth powder

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 medium yellow or white onions

4-6 cloves garlic

2-3 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles

2-3 cups cooked chicken or turkey, diced (omit for meatless or vegetarian)

Garnish: sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, diced seeded tomato, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips

Preparing the Dried Beans

Put dried beans in a pot and cover with 3 inches of filtered water.  Bring to a boil, turn off heat and let sit for 45 minutes.  Drain the beans and then put them in a large soup pot or dutch oven.   Add the broth – more or less depending on how thick you want the chili.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until beans are cooked, but not mushy.  Set the pot aside while you make the chili base.

Making the Chili

Coat a saute or frying pan with the vegetable oil.  Bring to medium-high heat and add the onions.  Saute, stirring , for 5-8 minutes until soft and starting to brown.  (Turn down the heat to medium after about 2 minutes)  Add the garlic and saute 1 minute, then add the cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper and saute 1 more minute.  Add the diced green chiles and saute for 2 more minutes.  Add this mixture to the pot of white beans/broth.  Put the pot back on the burner, bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  If the chili is soupier than you want, you can simmer with the lid off for part of all of the 30 minutes to thicken and concentrate the flavors.  Otherwise, simmer covered.  IF USING CANNED BEANS: Follow the saute instructions, but in a soup pot or dutch oven.  Add the broth and canned beans, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Finishing and Serving the Chili

When ready to serve, add the chicken or turkey meat.  Stir and heat until serving temperature, but don’t bring to a boil again. Ladle into bowls.

Place the garnishes on the table so people can add the things they want to their individual bowls.  Serve with Orange and Avocado Salad and Harvey Cornbread.

Orange & Avocado Salad

Chop 1 head romaine lettuce.  Make a dressing of olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Toss with the lettuce, then place on a platter.  Peel 2 oranges with a knife, cutting off all rind and pith.  Slice and cut each slice into quarters.  Arrange over the lettuce.  Place 3 slices of red onion cut into half moons and one sliced avocado on top of the lettuce.  Drizzle with a little more dressing.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.