Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturdays with Rachael Ray: Chicken Bacon Ranch Chili

Ohhh, man, do I have a delicious recipe to share this week.

This chili was inspired by two Rachael Ray recipes -- this one and this one. Rachael shared the turkey version on a recent episode of 30 Minute Meals, and I immediately knew I'd be making it. When I checked her website a few days later, I found the chicken version. And that's when my wheels really started turning.

What goes perfectly with chicken and ranch dressing? That's right. Bacon. It's just one of those magical flavor combinations for me. Mix 'em all up together in a pot of spicy chili, and it's bound to be delicious.

I'm no stranger to putting ranch dressing in chili. Back in the day, when I was a waitress at the Waffle House (Have I ever told you about that experience? Remind me to do that sometime.), I used to put ranch dressing in my chili all the time. Both of Rachael's versions were white(ish) chilis, but I knew I wanted mine to have some tomatoes in it to echo the chili-ranch combo I used to love so much. So I added some. 

Rachael used poblanos, I used jalapenos. Rachael used ground chicken (or turkey), I used chopped chicken breast. Rachael used a combination of herbs and sour cream for her dressing, I used store-bought drizzled over the top (and added a packet of dry ranch, too, to up the flavor). And then, you guys, in what was possibly one of my most brilliant moves of all time, I topped the chili with a pile of tortilla strips that I fried in bacon grease. Have you lost all respect for me? I don't care, it was amazing. The bacon added such a great richness to the chili, which paired perfectly with the spice and the creamy, cool dressing.

Definitely, definitely try this chili. We loved it, and I'll make it again for sure. And be sure to check out Taste and Tell's Saturdays with Rachael Ray!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Chili
heavily adapted from Rachael Ray

1/2 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 can white beans (Great Northern or cannelini), drained and rinsed
Ranch dressing
Shredded cheddar cheese
Flour tortillas

1. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon until crispy; set aside on paper towels to drain. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the skillet and reserve.

2. To Dutch oven, add chicken and cook over medium-high heat until browned and nearly cooked through. Stir in onion, garlic, and jalapeno; cook until vegetables are slightly softened. Season with chili powder, cumin, ranch dressing mix, and salt and pepper. 

3. Add chicken stock and, with a wooden spoon, release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in tomatoes, beans and reserved bacon and simmer over medium-low heat until heated through, bubbly, and slightly thickened.

4. While chili is cooking, heat reserved bacon grease in a shallow skillet over moderate heat. Add flour tortillas, one at a time, and cook until browned and crispy. Set aside on paper towels to drain. Cut tortillas into strips.

5. To assemble chili, ladle into bowls. Top with a sprinkling of shredded cheese, a pile of tortilla strips, and a generous drizzle of ranch dressing.


Taste and Tell said...

Oh my goodness - you definitely did some great things to this chili. This sounds A-MAZ-ING!!!

Avril said...

Cassie Girl! - such a great idea to put ranch dressing over your chili! - I can't wait to try this out. LOVE how your "wheels" turn with such yummy ideas. :-)

Happy Weekend!
~avril :-)

Debbie said...

Cassie - your version sounds wonderful. I promise to try this soon. Can't guarantee my son will like it but I know that my husband and I will. I did check out Taste and Tell and love that her recipe is a slow cooker one. Another one I have to try!!!

Brittany said...

Oh Cassie you're so funny! :o) This sounds really good! I will definitely have to try it sometime!

Sharon said...

This looks great, I have been looking for a chicken chili recipe and this is right up my alley! I love the ranch dip in the chili and on top love me some ranch!! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle said...

This looks amazing, we love ranch!