There's not much better on a chilly fall evening than chili, unless we're talking chicken chili. It' has all of warm, comforting heartiness of a traditional beef-based chili, but it gets a nice, lighter twist with chicken instead.
I've tried a lot of chicken chili recipes over the years, but inevitably I come back to this one by Ina Garten from Food Network. It's the perfect consistency and full of peppers, tomatoes, and an array of spices that come together into one bowl of deliciousness. I love to serve it to my family or for small get togethers with tons of toppings like cheeses, chopped green onions, sour cream avocados, tortilla chips, and more.
To save time, I usually skip a step in her recipe, and instead of cooking the chicken myself, I start with a couple of breasts from a rotisserie chicken and go from there. I also like to add a can of white beans to thicken it up too.
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
cheese, sour cream, and other toppings you choose
Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.
Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.
Image via Vox Efx/Flickr