This year, I decided to enter a chili in the cook-off, but I didn't just want to make my regular old chili (which is very good!) -- I wanted to do something different. I found a Rachael Ray recipe for apple chicken chili in a recent issue of her magazine, and it sounded good, so I decided to go with that. I made it last night, and saved a small bowl for myself before putting the rest of the batch in the Crock pot.
The chili was good, but tasted like it was missing something. I've had this problem with Rachael Ray recipes before -- they're always pretty decent, but need some...something. So, I added some cinnamon (which works with apples, of course, and also with most Mexican flavors), and that was it. That took this chili from "pretty good" to "wow -- really good." The cook-off starts at 11:00, so I'll update later to let you know how Rachael and I do!
Apple Chicken Chili
Source: Every Day with Rachael Ray>, September/October 2008
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
2 apples, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
Two 15-ounce cans pinto or white beans, rinsed
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
1. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, chili powder, cumin and cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl.
2. In the same pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the apples and onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 6 minutes; add to the chicken.
3. In the same pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute; whisk in the chicken broth and milk until thickened, 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken-apple mixture and beans, bring to a simmer, then stir in the cheese.
Well, I didn't win, but I would have come in fourth -- if prizes were awarded for fourth place, that is. Out of 15 chilies, that's not too bad. One co-worker asked me for the recipe, and the consensus was that this chili was "intriguing." Everyone seemed to like it. And it's the day before the OSU-Michigan game, so OF COURSE the winner was the person who made Jim Tressel's famous chili. So I don't feel so bad about losing out this time!