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Monday, March 1, 2010

White Bean and Chicken Chili

Without any grand entry, I have to say that this chili is just marvelous, and so comforting to eat during any part of the day in the midst of all the wicked weather. I used to take chili recipes and sub ground chicken for the beef on occasion, but this particular recipe is meant to be made with chicken and actually enhances the flavor with the subtle nuance of fennel seeds and the sweetness of corn. Swiss chard is indeed a gem but as the market was fresh out, I used thick slices of sturdy escarole as an ample replacement, and it worked very well (much easier too than the exhausting business of separating the stems of the chard to get to its leaves!). The chicken chili was delicious straightaway, fragrant and steaming hot out of one of my favorite Le Creuset flame-colored Dutch ovens, ready to serve in about an hour, but I suggest making it ahead of time, letting cool completely and then refrigerate as it gets even better after a day or two.

White Bean and Chicken Chili
Giada De Laurentiis/Giada at Home/Food Network
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground chicken
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder
3 tablespoons flour
2 (15-ounce cans) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
11/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

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