My mom makes the best chili around, and as you will probably gather from future posts, you may be asking yourself how?! Especially since she is not one to really be known to busy herself in the kitchen.
Growing up, there were many events where mom’s chili made it’s grand debut in the good ol’ crock pot. People lapped it up and said what we already knew. That yes. This is the best chili they had ever had.
Flash forward to about 15 years and I am now an avid Martha Stewart follower. I plan to reincarnate one day as the Ms. S herself and wreck havoc (in a good way) on domesticity bliss. However, until that day comes, I can just keep doing what I’ve always been doing. Learning from one of the best through her books, magazines and television shows.
Flipping through the January issue of Living, I came across a recipe by Lucinda Scala Quinn. This woman is the real ma coy people! Everything and I mean everything she makes looks utterly delicious. I must admit that up to this point I had always looked at her food and salivated, but had yet to actually try a recipe of hers.
Which brings me to this particular recipe. It was entitled “Chicken Chili Challenge”. Hmmm... the recipe sounds delicious, but it’s chicken. My mom’s famous chili never had chicken, but meat! Meat! Every version of poultry chili I had ever tried left me wanting a bowl of my mother’s chili. However, there was something that caught my eye. Her husband said it was his new favorite. What? No more meat? He wants chicken? Well, then this is a must try.
Let me just say, it is now my new favorite too. I will always love my mother’s chili, however, this takes it to a new level. It is every bit as meaty as you always crave from chili, and the flavors are phenomenal. She tops it with cornbread croutons, which I did as well. You will also find the recipe for the cornbread I used and the crouton how-to below too.
Go ahead. Make a pot. Your family will thank you, and with only a few more weeks of winter left, why wait? Enjoy!
Adapted from The Confident Cook column by Lucinda Scala Quinn in Martha Stewart Living January 2011
10 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 jalapeno chili, halved (seeded if desired)
1 white onion, peeled and halved (I used yellow)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless-chicken thighs, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup chili powder
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups homemade or store bought low-sodium chicken stock
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained
1. Preheat broiler, with rack 3 inches from heat source. Arrange tomatoes, jalapeno, onion and garlic, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until starting to char, about 5 minutes. Pulse tomatoes and jalapeno in a blender or food processor until chunky. Chop onion and mince garlic.
2. Heat a large heavy skillet (I used a dutch oven) preferably enamel cast iron, over medium-high heat. Add oil. Working in batches, brown chicken in a single layer, allowing to sear before stirring, 5 to 6 minutes; transfer to a plate.
3. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic to skillet. Cook until soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Add chili powder and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring for one minutes. Stir in chipotles, and add chicken. Raise heat to high. Add tomato-jalapeno mixture. Cook, scraping up browned bits, until fully incorporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in stock; simmer for 20 minutes. Add beans; simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.
Adapted from Essentials of Baking by Williams-Sonoma
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup AP flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears), optional
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey or firmly packed brown sugar (I like my cornbread on the sweet side, so I use 4 tablespoons)
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 425 degrees. Butter and 8-inch cast-iron frying pan or an 8 inch square baking pan or dish.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the corn kernels, if using. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs on medium speed until blended. Add the honey, buttermilk, and butter and beat until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until mixed.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let the bread cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack. Serve warm.
Cut the cornbread into 3/4 inch cubes; toss with olive oil and salt. Bake at 350 degrees until golden, about 20 minutes.