Comforting chicken chili in a spicy, smoky, hearty tomato-based broth with chunks of sweet butternut squash, soy chorizo, kidney beans, chili peppers, and shredded chicken.
‘Tis the Season
Welcome to the fall edition; the season is finally here, and everyone has been bombarded with squash. In addition, the cool thing about these little, too-big, wrinkly, or oddly shaped things is that you can find a variety and create countless recipes with them.
Let’s add another to your recipe repertoire with a little twist by taking something traditional and splashing a bit of "a la mode" to commemorate the season. Additionally, butternut squash has always been a craze around this time of year, no matter where you are in North America, for the last decade.
You probably already have your favorite dish you like creating with them. Simply baking them as a side dish or eating them alone is fantastic. But let's go ahead and check out this Butternut Squash Chicken Chili recipe I created to throw them into.
Are you looking for more warm bowls of soups and stews ideas? Then you must try the Pumpkin Gnocchi Chicken Soup, Chicken Meatballs & Israeli Couscous Vegetable Soup, Curry Lentil Turkey Stew, and Spicy Red Bean Stew with Dumplings and Smoked Turkey.
But All Year Round
The great thing about chili is that you can have it all year round. The reason also for this is it's not as soupy. In addition, it's more of a thick stew and a one-pot meal.
You can still eat a small bowl if you live in a tropical place or just somewhere that never rains, like California. For instance, it's a spicy dish that somehow cools you down.
In contrast, when it's fall, and you live up north, like New York, you still can have a bowl as a way to warm up. So, interestingly, it works in all situations.
To common North American knowledge, chili originated in Mexico and can be seen as a Tex-Mex dish to those born in the U.S. Why is chili considered Tex-Mex? Well, Texas officially became a state of the United States in 1845.
The earliest possible literature of a chili dish can be dated back to as early as the 1500s in Mexico City, located south of Mexico, by a man named Bernardino de Sahuagun, a Franciscan friar working as a missionary.
In addition, the earliest written recipe for "chili con carne" can be dated back to the 1850s, in a book about the Mexican-American war between 1846 and 1848 in Monterrey, a city in northern Mexico. Later, chili became popular and was prepared by Mexicanas in Northern Mexico and Tejanas in Southern Texas.
Tejanas are females whose origin and culture are Mexican and now living in the new state of Texas. Thus creating a hot spot for chili in San Antonio, southern Texas, for years to come. And now, since 1977, chili has become the official dish of Texas.
Another remarkable fact is that Texas has held an International Chili Cook-Off annually since 1967 and has an organization dedicated to it called the International Chili Society. This is exciting; something new I learned while writing this blog post. Indeed, I would love to experience such an event!
I've made this dish a couple of times to get the recipe just right. Honestly, nothing is fancy about it; it's just a bowl of comfort. Firstly, start with the chicken. You can also use bone-in or boneless chicken breast, but it has to be skinless.
Test Kitchen suggested bone-in since it creates more flavor, but this is up to you. Then season it with salt and pepper and sear it with olive oil to create a brown crust on both sides. Finally, remove the chicken to create the base for the chili.
Into your pot, add the onions and butternut squash. When the onions are cooked halfway, add the garlic. Afterward, add the ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, chili powder, cinnamon, and paprika.
Add the chopped parsley, fresh tomatoes, and soy chorizo. Then, deglaze the pan with white wine to give the dish more depth and just an excuse to use some wine.
Of course, add kidney beans and chicken broth. I also used red tomatillo salsa and jalapenos for various heat. However, experiment and have some fun adding a variety of peppers. Finally, I served my bowls with diced avocado.
See the chicken chili recipe card for quantities.
Searing the chicken breast ensures a juicy chicken by locking in the juices.
Once the base of the soup is made, the chicken will go back into the broth to cook until tender. Then removed, rest to redistribute the juices, and shredded to place back into the chili.
Busy Folks - Become a better home cook with cooking tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. In addition, some related detailed steps can be found there.
- Vegetarian Chili - For vegetarian chili, omit chicken breast and broth and use vegetable broth with chickpeas and red lentils.
- Spice - Substitute the spices with 1 ½ tablespoons of Adobo seasoning and ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon. In addition, be aware that some premade seasoning blends contain salt.
- White Wine Used - I recommend you use Sauvignon Blanc due to its ability to pair with seafood and spicy dishes due to its dry note. Additionally, you do not want to use a sweet wine.
- However, you may try Pinot Gris if you can't find Sauvignon Blanc. Remember, these are white wines; do not get it confused with Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Red Tomatillo Salsa - Use to replace the fresh tomatoes. In addition, this salsa is usually a hot puree sauce with ingredients similar to chunky salsa. Instead of or in combination with tomatoes, tomatillos are used with various chilies, white onions, fresh cilantro, cumin powder, and garlic. Also, some of the mentioned ingredients in the salsa can be omitted from the recipe.
- Soy Chorizo - Regular Chorizo, small diced. I used soy chorizo instead of regular chorizo. That is to say, this was personal preference. Both are great additions. Chorizo goes so well in tomato-based spicy foods.
- Kidney Beans - Try using pinto or cannellini beans. Chickpeas may also work as well. The last resort I would suggest is black beans. However, if these beans are your favorite, you might like how it comes out.
- Butternut Squash - Sweet potato, pumpkin, or Hubbard squash might also work. However, You can try using acorn squash, but this squash has more water content.
- Control Jalapeno's Heat - The jalapeno's white flesh, pith, holds the heat. You can either remove the pith and seeds or leave them in to control the heat level to your preference. Usually, I use whole pepper for a great kick. If you want it hotter, you can add two peppers instead.
- Jalapeno Substitutions, In order of heat level, from mild to hot.
- Green Anaheim - New Mexican, should be roasted and peeled before use. Additionally, this gives a smoky characteristic to the chili. It has heat but is milder than poblanos but not as hot as serranos. Tricky: When you find a hot one, they can be hotter than poblanos. So much fun! Sigh.
- Poblano - ancho is bigger but not as hot, milder with a great flavor
- Serrano - hotter than jalapenos and smaller in size
- Habanero - super hot chilies and a distinctive flavor; I would combine this with poblano peppers
- Pepper Heat Scale - Peppers are on a heat scale because sometimes it's like Russian Roulette. One pepper in the bunch can be hotter than the rest. For example, Shishito peppers are usually mild, but you might get a hot one.
Change Heat Level - Modify the chicken chili recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
- Slow Cooker - Throw it all in the slow cooker. Cook for four hours on medium. Then, remove the chicken at the end and shred it.
- Toppings - Be creative with toppings: sour cream, Cotija cheese, diced jalapenos, fresh minced garlic, roasted garlic, lime wedge, Tajin seasoning, scallions, fried onions, avocado, or sharp cheddar cheese.
- This chicken chili will need a firm, crumbly, and salty cheese with strong characteristics, like Cotija cheese. Since this soup is sweet and spicy, salty would be a great addition, making each spoonful a unique bite.
- Creamy Soup - Make a whole new soup. Remove the chicken, and puree the vegetable soup with a cup of sour cream, served with a mixture of shredded cheese and shredded or small diced chicken and avocado.
- Medium Dutch Oven - Dutch ovens are great for soups, especially enameled cast iron ones, like the Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid. Also, they can go in the oven and is great for even cooking and versatility.
- Small Holding Tray - Used to hold the stir-fried vegetables. I suggest using a metal tray like the USA Pan Bakeware Quarter Sheet Pan since it is the perfect size to place next to the stove to keep the ingredients warm.
- Meat Shredder - Shredding Chicken - You can use the meat shredder, which looks like plastic bear claws that come in a set with long teeth, like the Bear Paws Meat Claws - The Original Meat Shredder Claws. In contrast, you can use two forks. One holds the chicken in place while the other tears small pieces off. Then, you would return to the big chunks you tore off and shred them.
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, you can place the chicken chili in a shallow 2-inch container to cool down quickly. Then, store in an air-tight sealing container. In addition, the meal will last up to four days.
- Freezer - Follow the refrigeration process mentioned above. Then, you can place it in the freezer in a labeled, airtight container.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
- A Touch of Cinnamon - The secret to this dish is the addition of ground cinnamon, which will complement the butternut squash. It’s also a homage to Mexican cuisines, commonly used in their cooking.
- Fast Chopped Parsley - You can use your food processor to chop the onions and parsley separately since they go in at different times.
Frequently Asked Questions
They look like unripe small green tomatoes with a leaf life substance that covers the fruit. For example, like gooseberries, these fruits are known as Physalis. In addition, tomatillos are usually roasted for salsas.
Looking for other stew recipes like this? Try these:
Looking for other Poultry recipes like this? Try these:
Video: Shredding Chicken
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- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent foodborne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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