Saturday, February 11, 2017

Chicken and Black Bean Chili

Every year, our school hosts a "Chili Night" fundraiser to help offset the costs of the elementary year-end field trips. Bread bowls are bought (or occasionally donated by a past parent, who owns a bakery), crock pots and steam tables are set up, grade 7 and 8 students are commandeered to work the "fixin's" station and three or four staff members show up with their finest chili renditions. This year I finally jumped into the "donation" pool after a survey of the offerings showed a vegetarian, a spicy and a "regular" version but none with an alternate meat or a different bean in the mix. 

When I was on Weight Watchers in (first year) university, I used to take containers of my grandma's chicken chili to heat for dinner on nights where my classes finished after the dining hall closed. I took her basic recipe and twisted it this way and that, adding black beans instead of kidney, doubling the garlic, caramelizing the onions and adding a grated carrot for extra sweetness. As I made up the broth / tomato mixture, it seemed a little thin and the chicken a little scant, so I tossed in a handful of TVP to bulk things up. For seasoning, I mixed the sweet heat of ancho peppers and standard "American" chili powder with the hellfire flames of a Scotch Bonnet - which I pierced and added whole to the pot, cooked and removed at the end. A dash of smoked paprika and cumin rounded things out nicely,  providing just enough heat to toast you up without setting you on fire! 

Chicken and Black Bean Chili 

Of course, my favourite part of any chili is that it gets better overnight - and in fact, when my mom had a spoonful, cold, right out of the fridge at noon the next day she declared it better than grandma's!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Chicken and Black Bean Chili
Serves 10
3 tbsp canola oil, divided
3 small onions, diced
1 lb ground chicken breast
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 chopped bell peppers
1 large carrot, finely grated
1 (29 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 (680ml) can tomato sauce
3 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, pierced 3-4 times with a skewer but left whole
½ tbsp ancho chili powder
½ tbsp “regular” chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
1 bay leaf
2 (19-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
⅓ cup TVP crumbles
    *For even deeper, richer flavour, add 1 tbsp cocoa powder with the spices
  1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pot over medium low heat and add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until deep brown and caramelized. 
  2. Turn heat to medium-high heat and add the remaining oil and the chicken. Cook, stirring, until no longer pink. 
  3. Add garlic, bell peppers and carrots. Cook 5 minutes, until peppers begin to soften. 
  4. Add the tomato products, broth, Scotch Bonnet, spices, beans, TVP and chicken, stirring well.
  5. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. 
  6. Remove bay leaf and Scotch Bonnet. 
  7. This is even better the next day! 
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 273.6
Total Fat: 9.3 g
Cholesterol: 34.1 mg
Sodium: 807.7 mg
Total Carbs: 35.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 9.4 g
Protein: 18.5 g