By Erin Walgamuth
I believe what I love the most about chili, besides the fact that it’s delicious, is that the sky is the limit when it comes to ingredients! In fact, I would go so far as to say that there are no wrong ways to make chili. It seems that every time I make it I add something different, be it the meat or the spices, but it always turns out delicious.
I like the fact that this meal-in-a-pot can simmer on the stove top for hours while you add ingredients, and bonus, your house will smell amazing too! I try to make my chili the day before I am going to serve it as that gives the flavors a chance to meld and you end up with an even tastier chili.
This is a perfect dish to serve if you are having a Super Bowl party, especially if you make it on Saturday. We like lots of different toppings to go on our chili such as Queso Fresco, finely chopped red cabbage, thinly sliced radishes, chopped green olives, diced red onion, sour cream and chopped cilantro.
This recipe yields chili with medium spicy flavor, feel free to add more, or less spice to suit your taste. You be the judge on what meat to use, or don’t use any for that matter. It’s great with beef or pork as well as chicken. Have fun customizing this recipe, game on!
Game Day Chicken Chili Recipe
Start to finish is about 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes about 4 quarts or 16 cups
You will need-
8 quart stock pot with lid
Tongs to handle chicken
Long handled wooden spoon
Baking dish for holding cooked chicken
1 cup glass measuring cup to dissolve the espresso powder
1 head of garlic, about 14 cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
Ground Pasilla chili pepper
Ground cayenne pepper
2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1-2lb 15oz can of pinto beans – drained
1-2lb 15oz can of black beans – drained
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I divide what is left, put it in 1 tablespoon increment and freeze to use at a later date)
½ cake of Ibarra Mexican chocolate (you can find this in the Hispanic section of your market. It is used for hot chocolate), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 6oz of hot water, or use very strong coffee
Put oils in the stock pot and add the minced garlic, let rest while you chop your onions.
Turn heat to medium; warm the oil and garlic stirring occasionally for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped onions and stir to incorporate into the oil and garlic. Add ½ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon Pasilla chili, stir to incorporate. Let onion cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
Add two or three chicken thighs to the pot (don’t overlap), sprinkle each thigh with a pinch of salt, cumin and Pasilla. Let chicken cook about 5 minutes. Turn chicken over and sprinkle again with the salt, cumin and Pasilla, cook for another 5 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Put cooked chicken in the baking dish. Do this in batches until you have cooked all of the chicken. Let chicken rest in the baking dish while you add the remainder of the ingredients. Note: You may need to turn heat down to medium low while cooking chicken if the onions are burning.
Note: The onion will turn brown as you cook your batches of chicken. Stir the onion occasionally and in between cooking batches of chicken, scraping up any brown bits to incorporate.
Add pinto and black beans to the pot; stir to incorporate into the onion. Add tomato sauce, coriander, oregano, cloves, sugar, chipotle chilies, chocolate (which will melt as chili warms), espresso, and stir to incorporate.
Chop the cooked chicken into bite size pieces and add to the pot, stir to incorporate. Let the chili simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally. Correct salt and spices to your liking and continue to simmer chili until it is warmed through. Serve, or let cool and refrigerate for use later.
Erin Walgamuth has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe section.
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