Monday, December 5, 2011

Veggie Chicken Chili

One of my favorite things to do on a cold day (well, let's be honest, any day really), is to enjoy a savory meal that can be served up in a bowl and devoured with a spoon.  There is nothing more comforting than cozy-ing up on the couch with the bright flannel throw that my mom quilted and designed, without having to mess around with a plate and fork, or even worse, dealing with a knife, if the meal so requires!  So, I'm always searching for new soup, stew, and chili recipes or am trying to create some new ones of my own.           
A couple of days ago, I became obsessed with the idea of making vegetable chicken chili (a healthier alternative to traditional beef chili). After researching next to 20-30 already existing chicken chili recipes, all of which were missing that certain "je ne sais quoi" I was looking for, I decided to do what I have the most fun doing when cooking...Trying “a little of this, a little of that” and hoping for a great turnout!  And what a great turnout this dish was!  My veggie chicken chili is a melting pot full of bits and pieces from other chili recipes with creativity of my own weaved throughout.  My critics absolutely loved it! 
Veggie Chicken Chili
(Serves 4)

1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
2 red peppers, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 stalks celery, chopped
1  14 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup water
2  5 oz. cans tomato paste
1  14 oz. can diced tomatoes, juices reserved
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a non-stick pan, heat one teaspoon olive oil.  Place ground chicken (or turkey) in pan and cook until golden brown, breaking chicken up into small chunks.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

2. In a non-stick skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil.  Add chopped onion and cook on medium heat until translucent.  Add garlic, carrots, celery, and red pepper and cook for 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook until soft.  Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

3. Pour ¼ cup water into pan to de-glaze.  Transfer browned chicken into the vegetable pan.  Add drained kidney beans, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes (with its juices).  Sprinkle in cumin and chili powder and stir.  

4. Cover and cook on low for up to 2 hours to thicken to your liking.

5. Finally, uncover and serve!
Bon Appetit!

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