Black Bean and Chicken Chili

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.

Saute Veg

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.

finished chili

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!

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