With the cold temperatures this week, I have been looking for a recipe that will warm us from the inside out. Chili is always a good choice, but I just wasn’t in the mood for beef chili. I pulled a couple of cookbooks and came across a recipe for Black Bean and Chicken Chili. I liked the recipe, it started with a ton of vegetables, but knew I could change a few things and make it better.
For starters, I poached bone in chicken breasts in chicken stock, seasoned with oregano, chili powder, garlic cloves, and cilantro. Once the stock cooled, I strained it, and put it in the fridge overnight so I could de fat the stock in the morning. I pulled the chicken from the bones and shredded it into bite size pieces, that also went in the fridge overnight. Before going to bed, I put the black beans in a container and covered them with water. They also hung out in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, I drained the beans and cooked them with some garlic cloves and cilantro stems and then I removed the fat from the chicken stock. I diced up two red peppers, one jalapeno pepper, three onions, and three carrots. While those were sauteing, I minced some garlic and a few pickled jalapeno slices and then added them to the pot.
Doesn’t that look pretty! Once the vegetables had softened, I seasoned it with chili powder, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, and chipotle. I added a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, with the juice, the meat from the chicken breasts, and the cooked beans. I covered the whole thing with the chicken stock. I brought it to a boil and turned it down to a simmer and partially covered the pot.
The recipe called for 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur wheat. I tried three stores, even a Wegman’s, and couldn’t find bulgur wheat. I knew the chili needed something to thicken it and I knew I had a box of barley at home. Necessity is the mother of invention. I cooked up 1/2 cup of barley and added it to the pot of chili. Just before serving, I added a half cup of minced cilantro leaves.
It was exactly what I wanted, spicy, loaded with vegetables and healthy grains. A perfect mid winter meal. I made a batch of cornbread and topped my chili with a little shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream. I added two slices of avocado and dug in!