As you might have figured out from my last post, this past weekend I went to sweet home Chicago. After an action packed weekend of bachelorette shenanigans, I packed up my things to head back to the big apple. Not so fast, cackled American Airlines, as they canceled my flight and re-booked me for the next day. So instead of pouting and stressing about my 4 am wake up call the next morning, I decided to make the most of my extra time at home in my mother’s beautiful and spacious kitchen (my happy place). Because when life gives you lemons, you make chicken chili.
This chili was incredible…although chili I don’t think is necessarily the right name for it but I couldn’t think of anything else or defy Sara Foster. It’s more like the love child of a chicken tortilla soup and a chili–brothy and light but still packed full of chili flavor and chunky veggies. I started by chopping up my fresh ingredients.
First I sauteed the onions, garlic, red pepper and jalapeno. Then you add the spices—cumin, chili powder, and dried basil.
Then you add the liquids. Chicken broth, tomatoes, and…wait for it…BEER. Cool, right?
Then I shredded up the chicken…about 4 cups. I cheated and used a tasty rotisserie chicken that my dad picked up from Costco, his favorite weekend hot spot…I’m not kidding. You could also use any chicken you have. Add the chicken and beans to the soup and simmer for another 30 minutes.
The soup itself was great, but then my mom and I discovered how to really help the soup reach it’s maximum potential. A dollop of guacamole. Crucial. The smoothness balances the spice of the chili perfectly. I also made a cheese quesadilla with low fat cheese and whole wheat tortillas to use as a dipper.
Nutritional Highlights: Recent research has given a ton of well deserved credit to spicy food. Hot food has the ability to boost your metabolism, help burn fat, and keep you feeling full longer. It also might have positive effects on cholesterol buildup and certain types of cancer. Now I don’t know if all that’s true, but I do know spicy food tastes really good. This easy soup is also full of veggies and lean protein. It’s a well rounded meal all in one bowl and perfect for a rainy day when your flight gets canceled, for example.
Chicken Chili with White Beans
adapted from “The Foster’s Market Cookbook” by Sara Foster
· 2 cups canned canellinni beans (or any other beans you like)
· 3 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 yellow onion, chopped
· 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
· 1 jalapeno, chopped, with seeds (or half the seeds if can’t take the heat)
· 6 garlic cloves, minced
· 1 tablespoon chili powder
· 2 teaspoons ground cumin
· 1.5 teaspoon dried basil
· 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
· One 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes
· 12 ounces beer (I used Corona but I imagine you can use whatever’s in you’re fridge)
· 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
· ¼ cup cornmeal
· 4 cups shredded chicken
· Salt and Pepper to taste (recipe recommends 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper but I used much less salt…taste it and decide because it’s easier to add than remove
· Cilantro and/or guacamole to garnish
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in soup pot. Add onion and saute about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
2. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and basil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add broth, tomatoes, beer, Worcestershire sauce, and cornmeal. Let cook about 10 minutes.
4. Bring soup to a simmer and add the beans and chicken. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. For an optimal experience, add some fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, and/or guacamole as a garnish.
6. Go to bed early so you don’t miss your 6 am flight. Ugh, you win this time American Airlines…