Friday, October 16, 2009

Chicken Chili

Ask a cook from Louisiana what the Holy Trinity is, and your answer will probably be bell peppers, onions, and celery instead of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. That's because those three ingredients are the base of so many Cajun dishes: etoufee, gumbo, casseroles, scrambled eggs. Almost any dish can benefit from the Cajun holy trinity.

I think I'm coming up with my own trinity, but it's from stuff with which God has blessed me in my own backyard: green bell peppers, onions, and jalapenos. We just don't eat enough celery for me to keep it in the fridge, and though I like the crunchy texture, Mike doesn't, and we both like more heat in our dishes than celery can provide.

We were so excited to find our bells had really come in while we were in Europe. They're bigger than my palm and hard to hold with one hand. Until Asher and I went to Fresh Market yesterday - those things are bigger than my head! They're like pumpkin bells! BUT. My bell peppers have three bumps to them (when you look at the bottom, there are three bumps), while the FM ones have four. Three bump bell peppers are sweeter and have a better flavor: I don't like four bump peppers raw because they have such a bitter taste. The skin and texture of four bump peppers is also generally more tough.

Anyway, I had a couple of chicken breasts to cook up for supper. But I wasn't in the mood for grilled chicken. And we were both sick of casseroles. What to do, what to do.... Something new and season-appropriate was definitely in order.

So I took out a big pot and started throwing stuff in. Bjork! Bjork! Bjork!

3 green bell peppers, preferrably three bump
1 medium onion
2-3 jalapeneo peppers, optional
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 chicken breasts, poached and picked
2 cans red or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes. I used a one-quart jar of tomatoes from our backyard. They smelled like summer when I opened them.2-4 cups (depending on the consistency you want) chicken broth
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1-2 teaspoons cumin
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1-2 teaspoons rosemary (just because I love the flavor of chicken and rosemary together)
1/8 teaspoon cheyenne pepper, optional
Rice or noodles for serving, optional.

1. Sautee the onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper (and yes, celery if you have it!) in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, enough to soften the vegetables.
2. Add the other ingredients (bjork!) and stir.
3. Flavors bloom overnight, so it's better the next day.
4. I had some whole-wheat noodles in the pantry, and they're very good with this dish.


Carrie said...

I totally learned something new about the bumps on bell peppers... I've never even looked at the bumps. I will now!

Anonymous said...

Jens would love this. Great twist on plain old chili!!!!!


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