It’s fall. Officially, indisputably fall.
I was slapped in the face with this fact yesterday morning when I woke up to a bedroom so cold, I could hardly get myself out from under the warm covers I’d cocooned myself in. After much back and forth chatter in my head, I peeled myself out of bed, where I was hit by another gust of beyond freezing air –Why is it that it seems to go from 90 degrees to 40 degrees overnight? Just last week, I was blasting the air conditioning and sporting a tank top and flip flops, and today I’m all covered up in skinny jeans, a big comfy sweater and boots – and I’m still shivering.
You know what this means though – it’s finally time to pack away the tomatoes and other summer fruits and bring out the arsenal of winter weather eats and drinks. I can’t wait to cook a plethora of hearty stews, slow-roasted meats, and decadent pastas, then sit by the fire while drinking lots and lots of hot tea, hot chocolate, and red wine.(Not all at once, of course.)
I’m a total freak and enjoy a big bowl of soup any time of year – even in the dead of August when it’s 100 degrees and humid as can be. It always sounds good to me; I think it’s largely due to the fact that my office is always an icebox, so I’m constantly trying to warm myself up. But I’m sure you haven’t been freezing your butt off all summer long, so I thought I’d start off my string of fall favorites with some good-for-the-soul chili.
There isn’t anything fancy or fussy about this chili, it’s basically a pantry clean out, give or take a few ingredients – I’m trying to be a bit more resourceful lately since Kev and I are in the midst of planning a dream vacation to Greece. Have I told you I’m going to Greece yet? Exciting stuff! In May, my hubby and I are hopping on a plane with some of our good friends and making the trip across the ocean to soak up some sun, learn a little bit more about the culture, eat copious amounts of Mediterranean food and drink a boat load of ouzo – Opa!! I’ll be sure to give all the details when the time comes. But, yay for Greece!!
Anyways, I’ve been obsessed with poblano peppers lately; they have a lovely flavor that is spicy, but not knock-you-off-your feet spicy. It’s slightly sweet at first bite and then hits you with a fiery kick in the end. I especially love to roast the chilies until blackened, peel the skin off and then pop them into a food processer to puree, and then mix into sauces and soups. Doing this gives dishes a complexity of flavor you just can’t get by chopping and adding them whole or using canned green chilies.
Other than the addition of roasted and pureed poblanos, this is a pretty straightforward chicken chili. I like to use ground chicken breast (and actually ground up chicken breasts I had in the freezer), but you could also use ground turkey or even cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces.
The chicken is browned with some chopped onion and garlic and then hit with a liberal dousing of cumin and ground coriander. I threw in some sweet potatoes and white beans for a little heartiness, and then covered everything in chicken stock mixed with the pureed poblano peppers. (I only added one this time, but I could have used it a little bit more spicy – it’s really a personal decision, if you like things on the spicier side, start with one and half, you can always add more later by popping an extra pepper in the food processor with a little chicken stock and add it to the soup.)
The soup is finished off with a little greek yogurt mixed with a tablespoon of flour to thicken the chili up and give it a creamy finish – sour cream would also work fabulously. A word of advice – the longer the chili simmers and sits, the better it will taste. I’d even recommend making it the day before, and let it sit in the fridge overnight; just pop it back on the stove when ready to serve.
I like my portion served with a big handful of sharp shredded gruyere cheese, chopped cilantro and diced raw onion.
Now, all you need is a big batch of cornbread to go with it – which will be the next post, so stay tuned!
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into cubes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 ¼ pounds ground chicken or turkey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 poblano chili, roasted
- 32 ounces chicken broth or stock, low-sodium
- 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained.
- 1 cup greek yogurt + 1 tablespoon flour
- Roast poblano over gas burner or under the broil until blackened on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, let sit for 15 minutes. Peel and seed pepper; roughly chop. In the bottom of a food processor, pulse poblano and 1 cup chicken stock until peppers are completely pureed.
- In a large dutch oven. Heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken. Add onion, garlic, cumin, salt and ground coriander. Add sweet potatoes.
- Cover with pureed pepper and chicken stock.
- Stir flour with flour. Stir into soup.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese, cilantro and chopped onion.
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