Creamy Chicken Chili

My husband wanted to make corn bread and asked what we should have with it. I suggested chicken chili and then said I knew he wouldn’t really approve. Chili for him is a tomato-based dish and chicken chili, at least in my mind and creation, is not. So I’ll compromise and put the chili in quotes. Or you can call this a creamy chicken stew if you like.

I use chicken thighs in this dish because they are very forgiving if you over shoot the recommended 175°F temperature. Since they get cooked through, and then added back as shredded chicken, we can use the extra insurance.

Creamy Chicken Chili
Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2 Serrano peppers
  • ~4 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs (about 8), skin removed
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 lg. green bell pepper, 1/4″ dice
  • 1 lg. Spanish (red) onion, 1/4″ dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 1×14.5 oz. can white beans, such as Great Northern, drained
  • 4 oz. room temperature cream cheese, cut into 8 cubes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: sour cream, cheddar cheese, avocado, radishes

Directions:

  1. Char the outside of the poblano and Serrano peppers, either by placing over a gas burner or under the broiler in the oven, until well blackened on all sides. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Trim excess fat from the skinned chicken thighs. Sprinkle generously with kosher slat and black pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven over medium high heat until just shimmering. Add thighs to the pan, placing what would be the skin side down first. Do not crowd the pan, rather work in batches (it took me 2 batches). Cook ~4 minutes on each side then transfer to plate while you brown the second batch.
  4. Pull the Dutch oven off the heat and look at how much fat is left. Add or drain so that you have about 2 tablespoons of fat. Return to medium heat for about 30 seconds then add the onions and bell pepper. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to distribute and coat with oil. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  5. While the onions/peppers cook slip the charred skin from the poblanos and Serranos. A paper towel can help in this. Try to avoid running under water, it washes off some of the flavor along with the charred skin. Remove the seeds from the peppers. Roughly chop the Serranos to match the garlic. Cut the poblanos into 1/4″ squares.
  6. Push the onions/peppers to the side of the pan and add the garlic, Serranos and poblanos. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.
  7. Add the chili powder and stir until it coats the vegetables. Stir in the chicken broth. Nestle the thighs into the Dutch oven, submerging them as best you can. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
  8. Grab the largest thigh with tongs and check the temperature with an instant read thermometer. If the result is less then 175°F return the thigh to the pot, partially cover and cook another 5 minutes. Test again until the thighs are all at least 175°F.
  9. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate. Add the beans to the pot along with the cubes of cream cheese. Stir to help the cream cheese melt. Reduce the temperature to low.
  10. Using 2 forks pull the chicken from the bones and shred it as best you can. Return the chicken to the pot as you complete each thigh. Stir everything together and serve.

Notes:
You may want to lower the temperature under the Dutch oven to medium-low before browning the second batch of thighs to avoid burning the fond in the bottom of the pan.

The leftovers, if any, could be used to make an interesting creamy chicken enchilada sort of dish.

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Beans and Greens

Some years back we were watching Aarti Sequeira’s show, Aarti Party, on Food Network and she made Greens ‘n Beans. I made it once following her instructions and decided after that I wanted something a bit different. Here’s my version:

Beans and Greens
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. kale leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup “red matter” (or 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot)
  • 2 red Fresno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 29-oz. can small white beans (habichuelas blancas is what I get), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the “red matter” (or shallot) and pepper along with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat with oil and cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the kale, which will likely fill the pot. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Dump the rinsed beans on top, add the water and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Using tongs give the kale and beans a stir. Taste a piece of kale; if it is done move on to the next step. If not recover and cook for another 5 minutes. If the pot looks a bit dry add another 1/4 cup of water.
  4. When the kale is done sprinkle with the vinegar and stir. Adjust the salt and pepper and serve.

Notes:
I buy a 1 lb. bag of pre-cut kale as I hate removing the kale from the stem. There are few pieces of stem in the bag however they seem to cook up in the same time as the kale.

“Red matter” is a guajillo and caramelized shallot jam that my husband makes in large batches a couple of times each year. It turned our dressing a festive red. A shallot can be substituted.

Two Bean Salad

The longer this salad is allowed to rest the more of the red wine vinegar and spices have a chance to flavor the beans.

Two Bean Salad
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

    • 1 (29 oz.) can Goya Pinto Beans
    • 1 (29 oz.) can Goya Small White Beans
    • 1 yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
    • 1 bunch parsley, rinsed, patted dry and chopped fine
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1tsp. Penzeys’ Mural of Flavor spice blend

(or 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp. ground coriander)

Directions:

  1. Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the onion and parsley.
  2. Combine the oil, vinegar and spice blend/pepper in a measuring cup. Vigorously mix with a fork to combine. Stir into the bean mixture.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for ~2 hours or up to 24 hours. Stir periodically to distribute the dressing.

Notes:
Based on a One Bean Salad from Goya that I found on the back of a can of beans.

Use a red onion if you want a more pronounced onion flavor.