Friday, September 16, 2011

chicken chili.

There was no transition to fall for me. I got on a plane in 100 degree heat, and I got off to highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s. Where did summer go? That left me craving warm, hearty food, food that sticks to my ribs, comfort food.

I'm not just craving comfort food because of the weather. Moving was and is still stressful. We're living with little furniture and a skimpy pantry because we're not settled enough to have found places to fill our apartment and our larder. That means lots of beans in our food and making big batches of things we can eat for a couple of days and freeze the rest. Even though it's a super duper cheap meal, it's delicious and filling.

Chicken Chili

chicken (1/2 of a roast chicken)
2 c. dried pinto beans, or 4 cans
1 jalapeƱo, minced with seeds
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
1 ear roasted corn, kernels sliced off
1 can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. paprika
pinch cinnamon
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
enough water to cover

Cook dry beans as usual. (Pick through the beans for any bad beans or rocks. Rinse the beans, then soak overnight in 3-4 cups of water per cup of beans. Rinse the beans again and cook them at a rolling boil for 1 hour on the stove.)

In a crock pot, combine the drained beans, chicken (I had roasted a whole chicken and used about half of the meat from it. You can definitely get away with less chicken.), vegetables, liquids, and spices. Add enough water to top the mixture. Cook on high for at least 4 hours, if not longer, until the beans are tender and the chili is a good consistency.* Adjust the seasonings as needed. (You will probably need to add more chili powder and salt. The cayenne may need to be decreased or increased according to your taste.)

Serve with your choice of cheddar, sour cream, toasted tortillas, corn chips or tortillas chips, etc.

*I'm still new to cooking with dry beans, so the times given may be a little off. Use your own good cooking judgement.

Note: As with all cooking, you should make changes to suit your tastes. Upon making this at a later date, I found we had run out of brown sugar. Two Tbsp. molasses and a large pinch of white sugar added such depth of flavor. At that time, I was also wanting a sharp tang in my chili, so a few dashes of Tobasco and a nice drop of balsamic vinegar gave me the tang and kick I wanted. This chili, in my experience, can withstand an individual's tasteful experimenting.

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