Monday, March 23, 2009

Chicken Chili

While flipping through the Barefoot Contessa Parties book looking for ideas for my sister's graduation party, which will be catered by yours truly, I found a chicken chili recipe. I decided to make it for my family for lunch. In the Parties book, the recipe was for 12 but the below recipe is reduced to 6.

4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions) - I used 2
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 - I used 1/2 of a green pepper instead because it's what I had
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 - I used crushed tomatoes with basil
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves - I didn't use any but it would have been better if I did!
4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
For serving:
Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream

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. If using whole tomatoes: 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 chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

We ate it with tortilla chips because it was very thick like a salsa, which I liked. It would have been good with shredded sharp cheddar but we didn't have any. I ate this warmed up for lunch today and it was even better a day old.

This was the first time I used my mom's cast iron cookware (It's not Le Creuset but it is French!) and everything cooked very evenly... and the chili looked glamorous in the red pot!

The Barefoot Contessa's Parties is a great book with several party-themed menus, like the Academy Awards Party, a Picnic and an Autumn Party. This book includes two of our family's favorites: Chinese Chicken Salad and Lemon Squares. I am going to make a Pesto and Peas Pasta Salad from the book for Arielle's party.

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