This chili is good. I wanted to call it “outstanding chicken & white bean chili” but thought that was a little too egotistical and what if people made it and didn’t think the same way? Maybe it’s because I’m not a huge chili fan but I really I liked this recipe. Although it seemed a little ironic cooking chili in this Florida heat and humidity. After I made it and photographed it I went for a swim to cool off.
A couple of weeks ago my favorite art director, Big Al asked me if I had a chili recipe. Nope! Surprisingly I didn’t. I’ve written thousands of recipes but never one for chili. If someone asks me for a particular recipe and I don’t have it I will develop one. So I was on a mission. My first question was – “do you like beans”. I love beans and wanted to put them in the recipe. Good, she did. Second question – “what sort of meat do you generally use in your chili”. “Ground beef “she said. I’d read somewhere once that a good chili should be diced meat not ground and no beans. I’m not sure who is writing the chili recipe rule book but as Big Al said she didn’t care what was in it, I was going to make it however I wanted – screw the rules. I didn’t want to use beef either. I thought chicken would be a little leaner – I’m dieting, remember. And I don’t like ground beef very much anyway, unless it’s in a burger or a meatloaf…or John’s rissoles (John is my father and he makes a mean rissole – recipe to come later, stay tuned, they’re pretty fabulous).
I love the convenience of skinless, boneless chicken thighs. And they’re succulent and forgiving when you cook them. We all love succulence in our meat right? If you don’t want to mess with dicing them up then use ground chicken if you must – thighs, not breasts please. I also didn’t use chili powder. I thought opening a jar of chili powder was a bit of a cop-out. Chili powder is essentially ground chilies, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and paprika, so I put those ingredients in…separately. And a cinnamon stick. And I used smoked paprika. Lovely.
We’re having the chili for dinner tonight. Then my hubby will take some to work tomorrow and I will freeze the rest. That way, one night in the not-too-distant-future when I don’t feel like cooking, we have it on hand so you may see it again, reborn as something else. Maybe with scrambled egg in a breakfast burrito or taco??? Who knows.
I used canned beans for convenience. They’re perfect in a stew-type recipe such as this.
And I used fresh oregano because of the 10 different herbs I planted this summer, that was one of only three that survived. “Full-sun” I discovered doesn’t mean full Florida sun and sadly, apart from the oregano, mint and Thai basil, everything else fried. The oregano is loving this heat and has grown into a shrub so I will be using it in a few recipes in the future although it’s never been a big favorite of mine. In this recipe it though it works. Just thrown it in at the end.
Add a squeeze of lime if you fancy, a big dollop of sour cream and some cilantro sprigs for some prettiness when you serve it. I love crunch so I grilled up some soft tacos to serve with the chili. All you need now is a margarita which I happen to be sipping on as I write this. And no, that is not on the diet but I’ll just ride further tomorrow.
chicken & white bean chili
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 3/4 pounds (1.25kg) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped (fairly small)
- 1 1/2 cups diced onion
- 12 garlic cloves, crushed (yes, 12)
- 2 or 3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon molasses (or brown sugar)
- 28 oz (793g) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken stock
- pinch of salt
- 2 x 15 oz (425g) can navy or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- sour cream, cilantro sprigs, lime wedges and warm tortillas to serve
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large pot or pot over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in 2 or 3 batches, or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.
- Heat remaining oil in same pan. Add onion, garlic and jalapenos. Cook 5 minutes or until softened.
- Add paprika, cumin, cayenne and black pepper. Stir for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Stir in chicken, cinnamon stick, molasses, tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce is starting to thicken. Remove cinnamon stick.
- Stir in beans and oregano.
- Serve with sour cream, cilantro sprigs, lime wedges and tortillas if desired. Serves 8.