Monday, January 08, 2007

Chicken Chili

Last night we were reminiscing about winters past and how we'd be holed-up in our old apartment on freezing, snowy Sundays, watching football and venturing out to walk to the store for "supplies" and maybe to clear the car of snow. Both of us having been brought up in some very snowy regions of New England, we certainly love the snow - so we'd always enjoy getting bundled up to head out and otherwise being "snow-bound" on those December and January weekends. For example, here is a picture of our old street in the South End of Boston from the evening of December 6th, 2003:

This weekend, January 6th, 2007? We played tennis at the park and sat out on the back deck in the sun wearing shorts and t-shirts. It was nearly 70-degrees on Saturday! We've had a TOTAL of .5" of snow so far this winter, and - on the Boston Common - the trees are sprouting flowers and the tulips are starting to come up. WHERE ARE YOU WINTER? WHERE ARE YOU SNOW? COME BACK TO US!!! (why do I think I'm going to regret asking that...?)

Regardless, it's still technically winter and playoff Patriots football is on, so we decided to do what we've done for years and make Chili. Chicken Chili, to be exact, but something a little different than our old White Bean and Chicken Chili. This Chicken Chili was going to be meatier - with two different "types" of chicken, breast chunks and ground chicken - and more traditionally "chili"...

We started some water boiling and cut up 1.6lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breast into big chunks before dropping them into the boiling water for ~10 minutes - until they were simply poached and cooked through - then just take them out and let them rest. At the same time, we started our dutch oven on medium-ish heat and browned 1lb of ground chicken.

As that was finishing and after drained, we seasoned with our collection of chili spices that we'd use throughout this recipe: Ground Cumin, Mexican Oregano, Chili Powder, (a little bit of) Cayenne Pepper, Smoked Paprika, and salt and black pepper. The Cumin, Mexican Oregano, and Smoked Paprika were all from the recent Christmas Gift of Penzey's Spices that we received from Stacey's Parents - greatest gift ever!

The now-seasoned ground chicken comes out, we gave the dutch oven a wipe and started some fresh oil and in went a couple of medium onions chopped to 1/2" pieces - to sweat it out for almost 10 minutes on low-ish heat. Then a green pepper and a red pepper - all chopped to 1/2" pieces - joined the party for another 10 minutes. Finally, we added a couple cloves minced garlic and let this all come together for 5 more minutes. We then seasoned with the same combination of spices that went on the ground chicken... and turned up the heat.

When the veggies were cooked down and getting very tender, we added about a cup of chicken stock and used our wooden spoon to rub off all of the cooked bits in the bottom of the pan - getting all those spices and flavor into the new liquid. Then we immediately added 2 32-ounce cans of diced tomatoes and 2 small cans of tomato sauce and got all of that up to temperature.

As that was heating up, we shredded that poached chicken breast with our fingers and add it piece-by-piece into the chili. Finally, the cooked-and-seasoned shredded chicken gets added back in. We decided we needed some more liquid, so we had an extra cup of chicken stock on hand, of which we added another 3/4. An initial taste and addition of seasoning and then it was set phasers to simmer and see-how-long-we-can-wait time!

After about 20 minutes, we were ready to add the final ingredient - beans. We knew we had about 20 minutes left total cooking time, so in went a 32 oz can cannelini beans and a 16oz can pinto beans.

After that final 20 minutes, we were back in tasting and re-seasoning... just a little more of that wonderful oregano and a little salt and it was tasting spicy and delicious. Scoop out a nice, chunky spoonful into a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and we were ready to eat.

With great smoky flavor from the paprika and cumin, spice from the cayenne and chili powder, and lots of meat from all the chicken, this Chicken Chili came out wonderfully spicy and really hit the spot on a Warm Winter's Day. The flavor was almost "buttery" from all the spices and the liquid... The leftovers will certainly be even better and a big ziplock bag of this Chicken Chili will end up in our freezer for when the REAL cold weather comes!


wheresmymind said...

I'm very jealous of your french oven!

Boston Chef said...

Thanks, wheresmymind! Alot of our Le Creuset stuff was bought for us as wedding gifts last year, so we owe a debt of gratitude to our family and friends for helping us out. Those enameled, cast-iron pans are so great to cook with - and so easy to clean! We plan on handing those down to future generations of cooks for years to come...

We found a few of our smaller pieces at the Le Creuset Factory Store down at the Wrentham Outlets in Wrentham, Mass. They have a lot of "second-quality" Le Creuset stuff there that is MUCH cheaper, and usually the "second" aspect is just a wayward paint job or a bubble in the enamel.

Wrentham Village Premium Outlets

sher said...

Hey!!! Look at your blog!!! You look fabulous!!!!! I'm very impressed . And the chili looks great too!

JB said...

I am most definitely jealous of your french oven, it's looking like it's an investment I'm going to have to make sooner rather than later. As a fellow Bostonian, I know what you mean about the weather, I ran outside on Saturday with shorts and a tank top.

Thanks for this recipe, we are having people over for the Patss game Sunday - I'll definitely have to make this.

Boston Chef said...

Hey, JB - we'd just reiterate: definitely check out their factory store in Wrentham for GREAT prices! Last time we were there, we picked up some little orange ramakins for $5 each and a great small baking dish for like $10.

Can't go wrong with that chili recipe - it all comes down to the simple equation of spices + time! Keep tasting and seasoning to get it just how you like it, and cook it as long as possible, keeping in mind to add the beans towards the end of the cooking time.

Thanks for visiting, we love your blog! So many great Boston-based food blogs...

Go Pats!!!

Boston Chef said...

Sher - we borrowed from the blogger template "Snapshot" and just updated it with some original touches... it was actually kind of a pain in the ass, but we're glad to have the new look.

Is Upsie demanding an update to her look-and-feel...?