Monday, October 19, 2009

Black Bean Chicken Chili

As soon as I heard that the lows this weekend were going to be in the 30's, I knew exactly what I was going to make on Sunday.  Black Bean Chicken Chili is my favorite.chili.ever, and chances are if we are friends, you have eaten it in my home.  To me, fall is not officially here until I've cooked my first pot of chili (and until John has dug into the leftovers the next day...or later that night!).

The recipe is a simple one and I think that the secret ingredient is 2 cups of salsa.  I've made several chili recipes (I'm sure you'll see a lot of them in the coming months) but have not come across another one that calls for salsa.  This recipe comes from a cookbook that my mom gave me several years ago that I absolutely adore: The Junior League Celebration Cookbook.  Neither of us is in the Junior League, but we love using their recipes!  I keep this page dog eared since it is definitely the most frequently turned to page.

I tend to be pretty heavy handed with the hot sauce but you can clearly make this as spicy or mild as you want.  I suggest getting the low sodium beans, because the rest of the spices tend to make this a slightly salty dish.  This recipe can be easily made into a vegetarian or vegan chili by eliminating the meat and/or cheese.

2 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery (not in original recipe, but I usually add)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 (28 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 cups medium salsa
2 tablespoons chili powder (the darker the better)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
shredded cheddar or jack cheese 
sour cream

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and simmer in chicken broth with onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic until the chicken is cooked through.  Add the tomatoes, black beans, salt, hot sauce, salsa, chili powder and cumin, mix well.  Simmer at least 30 to 45 minutes, longer if you have time.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese, if desired.

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