Chipotle Chicken Chili
Do you ever have one of those recipes that seems under-appreciated?
A flavorful comfort food that fails to catch everyone’s attention simply because it sounds too darn healthy.
Well this is one of those recipes. I discovered it on the Food Network when I had a fresh bunch of CSA chard that was begging to be used up on a cool early spring day.
The original recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis, but Giada was smart – she didn’t put the word “chard” in the title of the recipe. I’ve followed her lead, and left it out of the post title in hopes of luring more of you in, because it truly is a wonderfully delicious and nourishing recipe.
I adapted the chili a bit to suit my own tastes, cooking style, and diet (yes, this dinner is free of gluten AND the top allergens), but stayed true to the key ingredients and amazing blend of herbs and spices. Trust me, this one’s a keeper.
If you don’t have any chard on hand, have no fear, any leafy green will do … including those convenient bags of organic baby spinach that Trader Joe’s so neatly packs for busy nights .
Chipotle Chicken (and Chard) Chili
Serves 4 with Rice
Recipe adapted from Giada’s White Bean and Chicken Chili. I used chipotle chili powder, and even just this wee amount made the dish notably spicy. You can adjust to taste with some crushed red pepper, chilis, or hot sauce, should your chili powder not bring the heat you are seeking.
1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into small slices / chunks*
1-1/2 tsp Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder
Couple Pinches of Salt (optional)
1-1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Large Onion, diced or 1 Leek, sliced 1/4-inch thick and quartered
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed or minced
1/2 to 3/4 tsp Salt or to taste, divided
1 tbsp Ground Cumin
1-1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Chipotle Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
1-1/2 to 2 tbsp Gluten-Free Flour (all-purpose, rice flour, or your choice for thickening), depending on how thick you like it
1 15-ounce can Cannellini or White Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Large Bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces (my bunch with stems was about 3/4 lb) OR 1 Bag of Baby Spinach Leaves (should chard be hard to come by in your area)
1 cup Frozen Corn, Thawed
2 cups Regular or Low-Sodium Chicken Broth (I used regular)
White or Brown Rice for serving (optional)
1. Place the chicken in a medium-sized bowl, and stir in the cornstarch or arrowroot (I like to add a pinch or two of salt here too) until it is well-distributed and appears absorbed. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion or leek and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until nice and softened.
3. Add the garlic and sauté for just 30 seconds or so.
4. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the spices – cumin, fennel, oregano, and chili powder. Cook while continuously stirring, until the chicken is cooked (no pink showing). This will take about 7 or 8 minutes. If the chicken threatens to stick, just add a dash or two of the broth.
5. Stir in the flour to coat, and add the broth, beans, chard, and corn. The chard will look boisterous, but don’t worry, it cooks down significantly.
6. Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow it to simmer for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. The liquid will reduce in half and thicken a fair bit. Taste test it as it is cooking, and season to taste with additional salt (I used another 1/4 teaspoon) if desired. You can also add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper as it cooks if you want more spice, but we found the medium-heat to be just right as is.
If desired, serve over rice and with some homemade rolls.
*I used chicken breasts that were only slightly defrosted, making them very easy to slice. I sliced them about ¼-inch thick, and then cut each slice into ½-inch chunks. But you can cut them any size you like.
Alisa Fleming is the founder of the largest dairy-free website, Go Dairy Free, and author of the best-selling special diet book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living.