Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hot Stuff! Chili revisited

When I lived in Nashville, a deli in my office's building made a red chicken chili that I loved. I knew I'd never make it taste exactly the same as John's, so I took my basic chili recipe and made a few modifications. This is what I came up with:

1.75 pounds of chicken tenders cut up
2T olive oil for browning chicken
2 cans kidney beans (I used Goya)
2 large cans Muir Glen diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 Jamaican hot pepper, fine dice
2 small yellow onions chopped
1 jalapeno, fine dice
2 heaping T of chile powder
1 heaping T of cumin
1 T ground cinnamon 
1 T cayenne
2 bottles Harp

WTF? I hear some of you say. Cinnamon? Yes. Cinnamon has a good amount of savory applications. Look for a Mexican spicy fish and a Greek Cinnamon chicken in coming weeks.  There's also Cincinnati chili, which, when I tasted it, had strong flavors of cinnamon and chocolate. I loved the canned stuff, I can imagine what a good home-made batch would taste like.

Besides, I ran out of cumin.

I made this in a Dutch oven, because my crockpot only holds about a pound of meat and beans. First, I sauteed the chicken in some olive oil until I no longer saw any pink parts, then added my beans, veggies and spices. I cooked it on low for about four hours, covered, stirring around every 30 minutes. For the last hour, I took the lid off, letting some of liquid evaporate.

I served this to a very skeptical sweetie. He'd never had a chicken chili before, and had strong doubts when I mentioned the cinnamon. After three bites, his attitude was "shut up and let me eat." I consider that a success.

One note, I found this recipe to be much more compatible with cheese than sour cream. I used Sargento's low-fat four-cheese Mexican blend.

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