When the weather starts to get cool, there’s usually one thing I really want: a warm bowl of something…soup, gnocchi, or chili. And as much as I love regular chili (when the weather gets cool again, I’ll share another recipe which is Luke’s favorite!), this one is my absolute favorite EVER. And that’s saying something. I was watching Food Network one day, and Giada De Laurentiis came on (one of my favorites) and she was making a warm lunch for her husband, who had gone surfing that day. Enter THE chili. I was practically drooling at the end of the episode, and just waiting for a nice cool day to make this!
I made it one night when it actually got below 80 degrees, and we were watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox. It’s spicy, but not too, and the right ratio between beans and meat and vegetable. You can find the original recipe here, but the version below is the tweaked version I’ve made a few times. I’m not a fan of fennel (at ALL), corn in chili, not really, and parsley, whatever but I left it out. I also made the recipe smaller due to Luke and I can’t eat forty bazillion bowls of chili on our own. So I hope wherever you are, it’s actually cool, and you can snuggle up with a movie and some nice warm chili. I’m still stuck in 90-plus heat so enjoy it for me, m’kay?
White Bean & Chicken Chili
2 T. olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb ground chicken or turkey (I’ve always used turkey)
1/2 t. salt, plus more for seasoning
1 T. ground cumin
1/2 T. dried oregano
2 t. chili powder
3 T. flour
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
1 smallish bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed, chopped
2 1/2-3 c. chicken broth (depending on how much liquid you like in chili)
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
Parmesan or sharp cheddar for topping
In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic; cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken/turkey, salt, cumin, oregano and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until meat is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the beans, Swiss chard, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese.
This is a riff of the bread she made in the episode, but way easier. Whenever I make my pizza dough, I only use half for a pizza. The other half I either make into breadsticks or save for the next night. Here’s a simple way to dress it up, and Luke declared this his “favorite bread side dish” right now.
Cheddar Scallion Flatbread
Garlic Herb Butter Spread (below)
About 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
2 green onions/scallions, chopped
Flatten out the dough to a rectangle. Spread with butter spread, top with cheese (we like lots), and sprinkle onions over. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Cut into squares and enjoy!
I always keep this in my fridge – when I’m in a pinch I buy it from WinCo in their deli. But it’s just as easy at home, and it makes pizza DIVINE. Make it up a half a stick of butter/margarine at a time and keep it for about a week in a small container in your fridge.
Garlic Herb Butter Spread
1/2 stick of butter/margarine, softened
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. herbs (I like a mix of thyme, basil and oregano)
Mix up! That’s it! Spread on practically anything, including pasta for a quick lunch. You’re welcome. ;-)
P.S. The bread in the picture isn’t the Cheddar Scallion bread, just a little cheese on a piece of pizza dough. But if you hate scallions, just leave ’em off and make it like that. I DO like the scallions, just didn’t have any. ;-)