Saturday, July 10

Chili at 90 degrees (Chicken Chili)

Today was the first truly rainy day we've had in weeks, and it brought the temperature down to bearable. Kristen and I went to the farmers market this morning and got soaked! When I got home, I curled up in my sweats and finished the work I had for clinical next week. The lazy, dreary day needed some sugar and spice to pep it up. Enter....beanless chicken chili.

I'm not sure where this recipe came from, but it's photocopied in my trusty blue binder, waiting to be slow-cooked. It's not really "chili", since it has no beans, but it's a spicy chicken stew-ish dish that was delicious with some homemade cornbread. It turned out so well, with the chicken fall apart juicy and the peppers and onions simmered to perfection. This will definitely be a repeat recipe at our house!

Chicken Chili Stew
1-1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp + 1 tsp chili powder
1 large red onion, chopped
2 large red bell peppers, chopped
1 can (14-1/2 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 box (9 oz) frozen corn, thawed, optional
2 tbsp cornmeal

(I opted out of the frozen corn, since we didn't have any and I was too cozy and comfortable to go out into the rain and get some.)

Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, brown chicken with 1 tsp chili powder, about 5 minutes. (You can brown half the chicken at a time, if it fits better in your skillet.) Transfer to your slow cooker.

Add remaining 2 tbsp chili powder, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, lemon juice, water, brown sugar, cumin, bay leaf and cocoa to slow cooker and mix well. Press down to form and even layer, and top with corn kernels, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the outside. Cover and cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low, until chicken and veggies are fork-tender.

At 20 minutes before cooking is over, gradually stir in cornmeal until well blended. Cover and cook on high for 15-20 minutes, until mixture thickens. Serve, sprinkled with shredded cheddar or colby-jack cheese.

Golden Cornbread
1-1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2-4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1-1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, milk and oil. Add to dry ingredients; stir until just moistened. Pour into greased 9 inch square baking pan. Bake 20 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

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