Sunday, March 1, 2009

I've had this Michael Chiarello recipe for quite a while and
finally decided to try it. I don't know about you, but when I see such a long
ingredient list, I get intimidated. But when I scanned the ingredients,
it sounded fairly low-calorie, and very balanced nutritionally.

And here's another factoid of information about what it's
like in JaneWorld: you cannot make a dish spicy enough to
satisfy my eldest son. When flames are shooting out of my mouth from
some kind of salsa and all I can think about is immersing myself
in the nearest horse trough,
he's shaking his head no; not enough heat for him.
At our house, it isn't considered spicy unless beads of sweat pop
out on your forehead. Long ago I gave up the idea of keeping pace
with him. I didn't receive the same asbestos
stomach lining that the aliens gave him.

And though I have sunk low in my son's esteem, I take comfort
in knowing there's one bigger lame-ass than me:
my husband. Maybe it's because he's a redhead. I mean, he sunburns
after ten seconds outdoors; maybe that is somehow related
to his ability to process the heat in peppers. All I know for sure is
that we never let him forget what a spice wimp he is.

And imagine getting my guys to eat something with zucchini
in it--what a coup!

Chiarello Chicken and White Bean
Chili with Veggies


3 pounds chicken thighs, skin and bones removed, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Grey salt
4 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 cup masa harina or all-purpose flour
1/2 cup EVOO, plus additional as needed to cook the chicken and for garnish
4 red onions, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 green jalapeno peppers, diced
2 red jalapeno peppers, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
6 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 cups white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 (12 oz) can diced tomato in juices
2 (15 oz) cans white beans, rinsed and drained or 4 cups cooked white beans
3 zucchini, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 orange or red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
Grated Parmesan, for garnish


Place chicken in a large bowl. Season liberally with pepper and grey salt. Toss with fennel seed and smoked paprika. Sprinkle the masa harina or flour over the chicken and toss to coat.

Heat a cast iron pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup olive oil; when it begins to smoke, add the chicken, leaving the excess flour or masa harina in the bowl. Spread the chicken evenly so it covers the bottom of the pot in one layer. (You may have to cook the chicken in batches to do this, adding more EVOO as needed).

Leave the chicken alone, without turning it, so the meat will brown and caramelize, about 5 minutes per side. The chicken has a lot of moisture in it, so a good amount of steam will come from the pan before it is caramelized. As it browns, turn each piece with tongs. Once all the sides are caramelized, remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving juices in the pot.

Over medium heat, add another 1/4 cup EVOO to pan along with the onions and garlic; cook until onions soften and caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapenos, cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder and thyme, stir to combine. Add wine, bring to a simmer, then add the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, and cooked chicken. Stir to incorporate everything, season with salt. Simmer until chicken is wonderfully tender, about 45 minutes.

Add the white beans, zucchini, poblano, red pepper an scallions. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in basil. Serve immediately or cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To serve, sprinkle with grated Parm. and drizzle with EVOO.

The only chanages I made: I didn't have any white wine on hand, so I subbed
additional chicken stock. Masa harina is also not exactly a staple in
my pantry, so I tried regular finely ground corn meal and it
worked just peachy.
I will definitely add this recipe to my regulars. It was nutritious, easy (although
time-consuming) and had enough heat to satisfy my boys!

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