The wonderful thing about chili is that it is so adaptable to a wide range of ingredients and tastes. It is pretty easy to make and can carry a lot of nutrition. This pairs well with a sweet side like a cornbread casserole. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your tastes and what you have on hand.
To me, the key to good chili is not just the spice or the beans or the tomatoes, it’s pulling it together into a thick stew rather than a soup. Also, I like to use oyster crackers to serve this with. In fact, that is really all this needs.
Don’t be intimidated by the length of this recipe, it’s really not that bad. Let’s just say that I try to gear my recipes for cooks without a lot of experience in the kitchen.
Also, you will note that amounts are not given for salt and pepper. This is because you will use these staple seasonings to food according to your tastes. Just be careful not to overdo the salt. I keep a kosher salt cellar and pepper grinder on the counter. Trust your instincts then dial back by one. You can always add more, but you can’t take it back out.
- A crockpot or other slow cooker, obviously, you could do this on the stove top if you really want to, but this recipe was designed to be used with the slow cooker.
- A cutting board and chef’s knife,
- Stirring spoons, I prefer wooden or bamboo,
- Bench scraper if you have one (and you should),
- can opener,
- a small skillet,
- measurement tools like spoons and cups,
- a large strainer or colander.
- Cooking spray,
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided into 3 equals parts,
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth,
- 1 large, whole boneless/skinless chicken breast cut into bite-size chunks,
- 2 15-oz. cans of beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly, I like to use different kinds of beans and I recommend a can of black beans and a can of cannelloni beans, you could add a third if you like,
- 1 28-oz. can of whole tomatoes in juice, if you have an extra bowl pour the can into the bowl and use your hand to squish the tomatoes into small pieces,
- 1 small onion, chopped, yellow works best here but any will do,
- 3 cloves minced garlic (you could cut that back if that’s your taste),
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce, any type or brand (I use Thai chili sauce),
- kosher salt,
- fresh ground pepper,
- 2 tablespoons chili powder,
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose spice mix (our recipe is here),
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin,
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning,
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds,
- 1 teaspoon sage,
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes,
- 2 tablespoons ketchup,
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (low-sodium preferred), divided (Can be replaced with your favorite fish sauce.),
- All-purpose flour, at least 1/4 cup,
- Optional: sour cream.
- As you bring your ingredients together, set up your slow cooker, making sure the crock and lid are clean. I like to turn the heat on low while I’m prepping to warm it up. Thoroughly spray the inside of the crock with cooking spray.
- Also start to warm up your small skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil if skillet is non-stick, other pans might need a little more. Then add the chopped onion. Add some salt and black pepper to taste and sauté.
- Pour the chicken broth into the crock and set the cooker on High. Replace the lid.
- Add the minced garlic and the spice blend to the onions. Continue to sauté until the onions just begin to brown. Transfer the onion/garlic mixture to the crock with a wooden spoon, leaving most of the spiced oil in the pan.
- If you already squished your tomatoes, now is the time to add them to the crock. Otherwise, pour the tomatoes into the crock through a strainer. Holding the strainer over the pot, squash the tomatoes into small, bite-size pieces. Be ruthless. Then dump the tomatoes into the crock and stir.
- Pour one can of beans into the strainer or colander over the sink with cold water running. Rinse the cans and pour the water over the beans. Continue rinsing until all extra salt and liquid is removed. Add the beans to the crock and repeat with the other can. If your colander is big enough, you can combine this into one step.
- Cut your chicken breast into cubes or bite-size pieces. You will cook the pieces in two batches. You can add more chicken if your breasts are small or split. Sprinkle chili powder and the rest of the spices along with another tablespoon of olive oil in the pan over medium heat. When hot, add half the chicken chunks and the Worcestershire sauce. Cook until no longer pink. Then transfer that into the crock, again trying to leave most of the oil in the pan. Repeat with the rest of the chicken pieces. After transferring this batch to the crock, do NOT toss the pan away because we will use it one more time.
- Make sure everything in the crock is evenly spread through the soupy mixture. Cover and cook on High for about 3 hours.
- After about two hours, reheat your small skillet over high heat. When hot, stir and sprinkle flour into the oil to create a blond roux. Cook for a minute or two (depending on your taste), then scrape into the crock and stir it through. Replace the lid and cook another hour until the flavors have melded and the chili has thickened.
- Serve in big bowls with oyster crackers and a dollop of sour cream if you like.
Greek yogurt can be substituted for the sour cream if you like.
You can make this with other proteins like beef or pork or turkey, although with the beef you might want use beef broth instead of chicken.
If you want this to cook all day while you are away, cook on low for 6 hours and add the roux before you leave.
If using frozen chicken breast halves, use at least two and thaw before cooking. You also should brown your protein for better flavor.
This recipe makes six servings. All of the following information is from estimates based on the ingredients used.
Each serving has about: 362 calories, 10g. of fat, half of that is saturated, 46 mg. of cholesterol, 907 mg. of sodium, 42 g. carbohydrates, 14 g. Fiber, 4 g. of added sugar, 25 g. of protein. These figures are for dietary logging and can vary.