September 29, 2008

A Garden Grows in Baltimore

The Husband and I are huge chili aficionados, and a few years ago, we were lucky enough to be judges at the National Kidney Foundation’s Chili Cook-Off in Washington, DC. We tasted some mighty fine chili as judges and have been working on our winning recipe ever since. We almost have our wining recipe for red chili down pat, but since it’s not winter yet, we opted for a bowl of green chili last night to help use up the plethora of peppers I harvested from my rooftop garden.

According to the International Chili Society, green chili is only competition-worthy if you use only green chilies but I think purely green chili looks a little bland, plus it was impossible to time the garden harvest just right, so I used mostly green, but some ripened, red chiles in this dish.

The recipe is a little involved but the end result is totally worth it!

(Mostly) Green Chili
[Chef's Note: Don't overlook this recipe just because it's not that photogenic! It's really good.]

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
3-5 medium Jalapeño peppers (stems, seeds and white pith removed and cut into pieces)
3-5 Serrano pepper (stems, seeds and white pith removed and cut into pieces)
3 Poblano peppers (stems, seeds and white pith removed and cut into large pieces)
2 Anaheim or Cubanelle peppers (stems, seeds and white pith removed and cut into large pieces)
1 large sweet onion, cut into large pieces
3 cloves garlic
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 (14.5-ounce) can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1½ cups chicken broth
1/3 cup masa flour (or 20 crushed tortilla chips)
Juice of one lime
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
Sour cream, scallions, lime wedges, fresh cilantro and fresh diced jalapenos for serving.

Wearing gloves or working very carefully, remove and discard the ribs and seeds from the Jalapeño, Serrano, Poblano and Anaheim chiles. In a food processor, pulse the chiles, onions and garlic for about 15-20 times. Set aside.

Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large pot over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook without moving it until the outside is golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Adding additional oil to the pot, if necessary, add the pepper/onion/garlic mixture and cumin to the pan, and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.

While peppers are cooking, add ½ of the can of beans and ½ cup of broth to a food processor and process until smooth, about 20 seconds.

Add the bean/broth mixture, the remaining broth, the masa flour (or tortilla chips) and the seared chicken breasts to the pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the remaining beans and continue to simmer, uncovered, until beans are heated through and chili has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to cutting board and shred it, or alternately, slice it very thinly.
Stir in the shredded chicken, lime juice and cilantro into the chili and return it to a simmer. Add salt and pepper as needed and serve the chili with sour cream, diced onions, diced jalapenos, fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That looks really good!

When I used to live in an apartment building, and we were on the ground level, the people 2 stories above us used to grow chilie peppers. At the end of the season they would start droping on the ground around my patio, and my poor dog would try to eat them!

Chile + Dog Consumed = VERY BAD!