Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chicken or vegetarian chili

First of all, chuc mung nam moi!  Happy new year!  February 3 marks the beginning of the year of the rabbit in the Chinese new year, or the year of the cat in the Vietnamese new year, also known as Tet.  I wish you lots of happiness, good health and good fortune this year!

And the Super Bowl is coming up!  My husband Rick is a Wisco boy and is of course unbelievably excited that the Green Bay Packers are in the Super Bowl tomorrow night.  So in honor of the big game, here's a chili recipe for all those that like to make chili when watching football :)  And if you're looking for a new wing recipe, try my sweet and spicy soy glazed chicken wings - easy to make under the broiler in your oven and so good!

I typically make chili with ground chicken, ground turkey or make vegetarian versions with bulgar wheat, which has a ground meat-like texture.  You can use whatever combination of your vegetables - here, I used carrots, green peppers, and added some frozen corn towards the end just because I had some in the freezer.  You can also use zucchini or squash, or mushrooms.  I also like to use a combination of fresh onions and garlic and dried onion flakes and garlic powder.

Also, spice-wise, I don't like to go too hot but you can certainly add more heat to your own tastes. I always like that kind of sweet, savory thing to my chilis so I use a mix of cumin, chile powders, Mexican hot sauce, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little unsweetened cocoa powder. I usually always have a few different kinds of salsa in the fridge so will often throw in a little - I really like ranchera salsa in chili- there's a nice smokiness and heat that's great.

And as with all chili, it tastes better the next day or next few days while the flavors develop.

8 servings or so
  • 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey, or other meat if you prefer OR 3/4 cup uncooked bulgar wheat for vegetarian versions
  • 4 small onions, diced
  • 1 small head of garlic, cloves peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 medium carrots, diced
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels, optional
  • 1 small bunch scallions, thinly sliced, reserve some to top your chili when serving
  • 2 x 14.5 oz. cans or a 29 oz. can beans of your choice - small red beans, kidney beans, pink beans, white beans, or a combination, rinsed and drained.  I used small red beans here.
  • 2 x 14.5 oz. cans or a 29 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups broth of your choice or water
  • 1/4 cup ranchera salsa
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. ancho chile powder, or chile powder of your choice
  • 2 Tbsp. Mexican hot sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. dried onion flakes
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Sour cream, crema, or plain yogurt
  • Shredded cheese of your choice
  • Chopped onions or sliced scallions
In a large heavy pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions and saute for about 2 minutes or so.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.  Add carrots, celery and peppers and saute for about 2 minutes.

Add the ground chicken or whatever ground meat you are using, breaking it up and cooking for about 3-4 minutes. If you're making a veggie version, skip this step. Add spices, hot sauce, and salsa and stir into (meat and) vegetables.  Add tomatoes and beans, and your broth or water.

Bring to just a boil. If making a veggie version, add your bulgar wheat now and stir in. Reduce heat and  let everything simmer until it's reduced to your desired consistency, and if using bulgar, when the bulgar is tender.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  Stir in scallions and frozen corn, if using, when it's just about ready, and serve after the corn is cooked through.  Serve with whatever garnishes you like.


  1. Delicious all I want chili! :)

    Happy New Year!

  2. This looks so comforting! I'm not a huge ground beef fan, so I love the chicken recipe :)

  3. I was going to make chili this weekend but totally backed out of it. I am not sure why either. I wanted to make a vegetarian version and a red meat version to accommodate all of the people we were having over but I really fell short and didn't make any. Seeing this makes me wish I had. I love that you posted a vegetarian version too!