Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Green Chicken Chili

Football season has once again reared its ugly head. Yeah, I'm a Ravens fan, and while I do enjoy a rousing match of good (Ravens) vs evil (everyone else), I usually find myself getting stressed out on game days. There's always a lot to do on Sunday--and I don't mean resting--and I need to get everything accomplished before the game eats up a good three-hour chunk of the afternoon. Dinner is the big bugbear. We like to eat early, especially on weekends when we don't ordinarily have lunch. If the game starts at 1, it's usually not over until 4, and then I have to throw something together fast--after I walk the dog (that part is not optional, so don't even suggest changing it). For this reason, I prefer to make something I can throw in a pot either before the game, or that will come together fairly quickly if I have to cook after the game is over.

This green chicken chili fits the bill in both cases. Because it uses pre-cooked chicken (I use the leftovers from a rotisserie chicken purchased earlier in the week) and canned beans, the only real cooking involves softening the veg and cooking it long enough to get the flavors to develop. I can also cook it during the game, letting it simmer over very low heat so it can develop even more flavor. Heck, I guess you can even make it in a crock pot, although I've never used one so wouldn't know for sure.

This is good with cornbread, of course, but we like to crumble in handsful of tortilla chips, too.

Green Chicken Chili

1/2 large onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and diced
2 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups diced cooked chicken
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Agave syrup or honey
Sour cream and cilantro for garnish

In a large pot, sweat the onion and peppers in a tablespoon or so of oil and a pinch of salt. Once the veg are softened, add the garlic and cook for a minute or so, stirring regularly. Add the tomatillos, green chiles, and a good handful of chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems. Cover the pot and let the tomatillos break down a bit, 10-15 minutes, stirring once in a while. Add the seasonings, stock, and lime juice. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken and beans. Cook another 15 minutes, then taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, and enough of the agave or honey to balance the tartness of the tomatillos and lime. If you want more cumin and coriander in there, then add it now. (As a rule, it's not a bad idea to add spices multiple times during cooking.)

Ladle into bowls. Garnish with dollops of sour cream and a bit of cilantro. Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips.

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