Saturday, 17 October 2015

Spicy Chicken Chili [Quick from Scratch Chicken, Turkey & Cornish Hens]

I had originally wanted to make this cookbook's Groundnut Stew recipe but for the life of me couldn't find any okra, fresh or frozen, so I flipped the page and came to their Spicy Chicken Chili recipe. I love spicy food, usually peel-your-face off, but my gut instinct is that a recipe from the 90s isn't going to have any punch to it.

Cookbook Recipe:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips (I got them boneless as well)
  • 4 tsp chili powder (this is a pathetic amount of chili powder for a whole pot of chili. If I remake this recipe, it's going to be 4 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped (another thing I hate - deseeding peppers. It just makes them less spicy. Again, if cooked again, I'd leave the seeds.)
  • 1 1/2 cups canned crush tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 2/3 cups drained and rinsed pinto beans (I had to substitute romano, but they're extremely similar)
  • 1 2/3 cups drained and rinsed black beans (both these beans are about the amounts in 443ml/15 oz can, but I could only find the larger cans, so I saved the extras)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro 
Following the cookbook recipe exactly:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Sautee the onion and garlic until they start to soften, about 3 minutes.

2. Increase heat to medium, add chicken, cook until no longer pink, about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt, then the jalapenos, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Stir in beans and pepper, simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes. Top with cilantro.

The Outcome:

Unsurprisingly, this is not spicy. Like, not even a detectable tingle. The other spices are a bit light too, so the tomato flavour is much more dominant than in most chilies. It also has a much soupier consistency. If I was to remake this, I would cut it down to 2 cups of broth, at least an extra tsp or two of cumin, and just go hog wild with the chili powder. It's not bad, it's warm and hearty and easy to make, but it doesn't have zing. I'm going to reheat some of the leftovers later and add some ghost pepper sauce that I have in my fridge - that'll pick it right up!

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