Ah, chicken chili. Usually my reaction to it is, “this would be better with pork.” I saw yet another lowfat recipe for chicken chili today…bleah, move on…


What if I made a non-lowfat chicken chili recipe? And worked on making it not bland, without covering up on the lack of flavor by upping the spiciness? An interesting challenge. Here’s the result, which is currently in the process of making my stomach growl while I wait for the flavors to meld a bit.

4 chicken thighs (skin on)
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and rough ends trimmed
chipotle powder (you could use a very small amount of any powdered chili pepper; use cayenne rather than chili powder, which is full of stuff that doesn’t need to be roasted)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the thighs and garlic on a sided, heavy-bottomed pan. Sprinkle the thighs with salt and (lightly) chili powder. Pour just a bit of olive oil over the garlic, to keep it from burning while the chicken releases its juices. Roast until the juices in the center run clear, about 20 minutes. If you roast the chicken significantly ahead of time, pour the juices out of the pan and reserve.

1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
1 T olive oil
2 cans high-quality chopped tomatoes
Thyme (5-6 sprigs or a teaspoon or so of dried)
1 can pinto beans or the bean of your choice

Saute the onion, garlic, and pepper lightly in the olive oil over medium heat. As soon as the onions turn translucent (you’ll be underdoing this a bit), add the tomatoes in their juice and the thyme. As soon as the chili comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low.

As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and shred the chicken into small chunks. Chop the garlic into same. Add the chicken, garlic, the pan juices, and as much of the brown gunk as you can scrape out of the pan to the chili.

Add the beans (if you like thinner chili, make sure you rinse them before add them). Make sure the heat is low and let the chili simmer. You could adjust the seasoning with salt or extra chili pepper, but it seems pretty good so far.

Serve the chili with any vegetables you want to add that shouldn’t be mushy — I’m doing cilantro and red pepper. I really wanted an avocado, but I just went shopping today, and the consistently underripe ‘cados at Super Target are always hard as rocks, and I didn’t feel like driving to the Mexican greengrocer today, because it was snowing and I wanted a nap. Oh, and cornchitos, which is apparently De-speak for non-tortilla Frito-style corn chips. And non-lowfat sour cream.