There is nothing like a steaming bowl of smokey chili with a side of cornbread to warm you up, fill you up, and satisfy your tastebuds. I chose to use poultry for this version because I just love the herbs that complement it: thyme and oregano. The version pictured here is actually made with a super lean turkey which yields a more chunky chili. But if you want a more chili like consistency, just change the lean meat to fat ratio, maybe 80-20. Either way, this chili is a fantastic one pot meal that is simple to make and feed a small crowd. Enjoy!
Smokey Chicken Chili
- 1 lb. ground chicken (or turkey)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 pasilla peppers, de-seeded and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp grated lemon zest
- 1 large bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 large bunch of fresh oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 c. of amber ale
- 1/8 c. tomato paste
- 1 28 oz. can of Muir Glen diced fire roasted tomatoes, not drained
- 1 15 oz. can of unsalted red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- For the fixins: chopped green onions, chopped jalapenos, grated mexican blend cheese, chopped cilantro, sour cream, and corn chips
Take the thyme, oregano, and bay leaves and make a bouquet garni. In a 6 quart stock pot over medium heat, brown the meat in 1/4 c. of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When browned, take out the meat and set aside in a bowl. In the same stock pot, add the remaining olive oil and cook the onions on medium-low heat until translucent and slightly browned. Then add in the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, being sure to stir continuously to avoid burning the garlic. Add the pasilla peppers and cook for a few minutes more.
Add in the salt, lemon zest, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and chili flakes and stir until evenly distributed. Then stir in the beer and tomato paste, dissolving the paste into the liquid. Throw in the diced tomatoes, beans, and bouquet garni, giving it a good stir. Bring the uncovered pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Once simmering, add the meat and stir, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Serve the chili with any or all of the fixings and a slice of cheesy jalapeno cornbread (recipe below)
Cheesy Jalapeno Skillet Cornbread
- 1 box of Jiffy Cornbread muffin mix
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 egg
- 1/3 c. of buttermilk (or use 1/3 c. whole milk and 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar)
- 1 c. fresh or canned corn kernels (unslated, drained, and rinsed)
- 3/4 c. of shredded mexican blend cheese, separated as 1/2 c. and 1/4 c.
- 2 tbsp butter, separated
- 1 jalapeno, cut 3 slices from the top for garnish and finely dice the rest for the batter
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a bowl, empty the contents of the cornbread mix box and add the paprika. Stir until evenly distributed. Set aside. In a cast iron skillet, melt 1 tbsp of butter and cook the corn and diced jalapeno until the corn starts to brown. Remove from the heat and set the pan aside.
Add the egg and buttermilk to the dry muffin mix, gently folding everything until just incorporated. Add in the cooled corn kernels and jalapeno and the cheese, folding until the ingredients look evenly combined. Add the other tbsp of butter to the cast iron skillet and melt it evenly on the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour in the cornbread batter and smooth it evenly across the pan with a spatula. Top with the remaining cheese and garnish with the jalapeno slices.
Put the skillet into the preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean from the center. Serve while still warm with the chicken chili. For another variation, you can add bacon!!! Just cook the bacon pieces to render the fat instead of using butter. Then add your corn kernels and jalapeno to cook. Enjoy!