April 23, 2012

Chicken Chili

What happened to springtime and sunshine? We've been having clouds, rain and cooler weather for the last two days... today in the 50's, it felt much colder (if it weren't for the green leaves on the trees, I would probably be bummed that winter was still going strong). I hate being cold, and immediately started craving something to warm me up from the inside out.

As I've mentioned before, I don't like chicken soup... But, for some reason, that it where my mind went at first when I started thinking about warm, comforting, rainy day foods with chicken (perhaps because I had defrosted chicken for dinner...). I caught myself, however, and immediately settled on chicken chili.

I have made chicken chili before... usually "white" chicken chili, (meaning not tomato based), but it usually ends up tasting like spiced up chicken noodle soup. (Which, needless to say, disappoints the chicken soup hater in me). Instead of searching for a recipe, I just headed to the grocery store and starting thinking about what flavors I loved in regular chili... and what I wanted to warm me up. My first stop? The bakery for some crusty bread!!

I hate to brag, but this chili was delicious. It had all the flavor I was looking for, was quick and easy to throw together and definitely make a good comforting warm meal on a rainy night. I hope that you have the chance to enjoy it as much as I did!!

Chicken Chili
Serves 4-6

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into "bite-sized" pieces
1 large yellow onion, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
3/4 cup carrot, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with their liquid
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 14.5oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp yellow corn meal
Kosher salt and black pepper
Olive oil

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil (enough to cover bottom of pot), over medium-high heat. Add diced chicken, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Saute until chicken is browned. Remove from pot, set aside.

Add small amount of oil to pot. Add onion, celery, carrot, jalapeno and garlic to pot. Add spices, (1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp oregano, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili pepper), and cook until onion is translucent. Add can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste and beans. Stir. Add browned chicken and chicken broth. Cover, and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add 2 tbsp yellow corn meal. Cover, and simmer for additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve. Would be awesome garnished with some fresh cilantro!

Notes on this recipe: Yum. I thought that this chili had just the right amount of spice*, (warming, flavorful, a little spicy without burning)... Just enough to leave you craving seconds. I will definitely be keeping this recipe nearby- to make whenever I need a light, but comforting meal. *Spiciness can depend a lot on your jalapeno... if you think you want to make it spicier, I encourage you to taste the finished product before adding more spice... you can always add more, but you can't take it away, (trust me, I've made this mistake!!)

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