Like many of you, my love for cooking didn’t blossom until adulthood. Growing up, my parents both worked and couldn’t spend hours in the kitchen perfecting culinary creations. However, they each had a few wildcard recipes up their sleeves. One recipe, in particular, repeatedly won chili contests.
In youth, my first attempt at reinventing a recipe (not counting the grilled cheese disaster that damaged the countertop) was a healthy twist on that legendary family chili recipe. Today’s recipe is an evolution of that creation twenty years later.
What I love about chili is the variety of ingredients that come together to make something new and exciting. A good chili is all about the balance. Balance of flavors is exactly what will differentiate your chili from the meat in tomato sauce recipes. Everyone’s taste preference is different adjust the levels of spice, heat, smoke and freshness to make this your own.
Balancing the Ingredients
Freshness can refer to quality ingredients, favorite brands and preparation that preserves the integrity of what you’re putting into your dish. (fresh cilantro and avocado garnishes on top, organic Muir Glen canned goods)
Smoke typically comes from using specific peppers that are smoked when dried. I like to amplify this characteristic to bring those flavors forward. (chipotle and liquid smoke)
Heat was what used to scared me the most about chili, so I tried to work out a way to bring the spice through without burning my mouth off. Nowadays, I don’t mind a little burn, and you probably don’t either (since you’re looking at a chili recipe right now). Use multiple heat sources that will leave your guests wondering which they enjoy most. (chipotle, smoked paprika, ancho, chili powder, green chilies)
Herbs and Spices can bring your flavor profile depth and dimension. Allow these ingredients to stew and merge into the chili for peak impact. (cumin, coriander, oregano)
You’re going to second guess a couple of ingredients in this chili recipe. Soy sauce, for one, helps give the chicken more umami or meaty flavor. This ingredient is common when using ground meats or making stews. I especially like using it with ground poultry recipes. Be sure to add a little at a time, and taste as you go. Do this and you’ll see your dish come to life.
Don’t skimp on the garnishes – they are half the fun of eating chili! Even if you’re not a huge fan of cilantro, you can still set some aside for guests. That fresh herb can add a lot. Having plenty of garnishes is a lot like going to a DIY Bloody Mary bar – you can’t go wrong.
This is not a traditional chili recipe but it is tasty and fun. I make this for group ski trips every winter. It can be made in the summer or as a dip. There’s something about chili that get friends excited. I love having it in my recipe arsenal, and I hope you do too!
Equipment You’ll Need
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- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced (about 2 cups)
- 4 large garlic cloves chopped fine
- 1 chopped green pepper
- 1 chopped red pepper
- 2 28 oz cans organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 28 oz can of organic tomato sauce
- 1 6 oz organic tomato paste
- 1 4 oz can green chilies
- 1 4 oz can chipotle in adobo sauce, 1 pepper diced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 square semi-sweet baker’s chocolate
- 1 tsp soy sauce more to taste
- 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp dried hot red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried cilantro
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt plus more if desired to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 lb. ground chicken thighs
- 3 cups of shredded cooked chicken thighs
- 1 dash brown sugar or honey if too spicy optional
- tortilla chips scoops
- sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- fresh cilantro
- sour cream
Heat 1 tsp olive oil in frying pan on medium-high. Add and brown ground turkey, breaking into small bits, allowing liquid to evaporate. Add soy sauce. Set aside the cooked meat.
Put your stockpot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion with red and green peppers in 1 tsp olive oil. Stir until golden/translucent.
Add garlic, olive oil, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes and smoked paprika to the stockpot. Mix well.
Add chicken stock, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, green chilies, baker’s chocolate, and 1 single chipotle, diced, from the can. Stir well. If you like spice, add 1 tsp of the adobo sauce.
Mix in oregano, cilantro, parsley, coriander, cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder, salt, pepper, and the browned turkey.
Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low.
Cover and simmer for an hour.
Fold in the shredded chicken and beans.
Remove from heat and <ul>refrigerate (in the stockpot) overnight</ul>.
Reheat chili on medium-low, stirring frequently and gently for 30 minutes before serving.