Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chipotle Chili with Chicken & Butternut Squash

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this is one such recipe.  I had some leftovers that I needed to use up, in this case, some roasted butternut squash and some shredded chicken breast, so I decided to make them into a chili. The squash acts as a thickener for the chili, but could be skipped.  If you don't have shredded chicken on hand, you could easily sauté some chicken before you start your onions, remove and then add in before the simmering process, or skip completely and up the beans to 2 cans for a meat free version. This is a really simple, satisfying, and spicy chili - the hubs and I really enjoyed it over wild rice. I hope you like it too!

All the good stuff
  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash, fork mashed
  • 1-2 cups shredded chicken breast
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped (1 full pepper makes for a very spicy stew, scale back if you're not into fiery foods, but the smokiness of the pepper is important for the flavor, so don't skip it entirely)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (again, scale back or omit for less spice)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1  tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • Few dashes of Worcestershire sauce (Lee & Perrins is my preferred brand)
  • 8-10 Campari sweet tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 1 can Habicheulas Blancas (small white beans), drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken broth)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp "better than bouillon" chicken
Garnish with:
  • Avocado slices
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Non-fat plain Greek Yogurt (less guilt than sour cream, and all the taste!)
  • Lime Wedge
  • Serve over rice of your liking - I used long grain wild rice

Start by roasting your peppers and tomatoes.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Rub the peppers and tomatoes with some EVOO, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast on the top shelf of the oven until the skin of the peppers is blackened and the tomatoes are collapsed and beginning to caramelize, approximately 20 minutes.  When you remove them from the oven, immediately take the peppers and put them in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  The steam will help them "sweat" their skins off.  While the peppers are cooling, rough chop the tomatoes and set aside.  When the peppers are cool, use a knife to scrape the skins off.  Discard skin, and rough chop the pepper flesh.  Set aside.

How the bell pepper and
tomatoes look when ready
to remove from the oven
In a dutch oven, sauté the red onion over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.  Next, turn your heat to medium low and add the chipotle, red pepper flake, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, black pepper, salt, and Mexican oregano.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, and then add the better than bouillon (kicks the flavor up a notch).  Let that dissolve into the mixture, and then add your chicken broth.  Stir well and be sure to scrape up any caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan.

Next, add the honey and a few dashes of Worcestershire.  Add the butternut squash, shredded chicken, tomatoes, bell peppers, and Habichuelas Blancas. Turn heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes.

While the chili is simmering, cook your rice (if you wish to serve it over rice) according to package directions, and prepare the other garnishes.

When 20 minutes is up, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve over rice with some slices of avocado, fresh cilantro, greek yogurt, and a squeeze of lime juice to brighten the flavor profile.  Enjoy!

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