When weather turns cool, it's time for chili


Version uses chicken instead of beef, yet suits the season well


Sunday Gourmet

October 05, 2003|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Tribune Media Services

One dish I love to make at this time of the year is chili. This week, instead of making my usual version with ground beef, I opted for a variation. I replaced the meat with diced chicken breast, added some fresh corn kernels along with the beans, and used chipotle peppers in addition to a sprinkling of chili powder for seasoning. Easy to assemble, this chili took little time to prepare. Cubed chicken and chopped onions were quickly sauteed. Spices and tomatoes were stirred in. Finally, the mixture was simmered in chicken stock until the poultry was fork-tender. Served piping hot with dollops of sour cream and a dusting of cilantro, the chili made a delicious all-in-one main course.

The recipe easily lends itself to doubling or tripling, the cost is modest and, best of all, it can be made several days ahead. A salad of mixed greens, fresh orange segments and sliced avocados, a basket of corn bread and a plate of homemade brownies will complete our autumn supper.

Chili With Chicken, Corn and Chipotle Peppers

Serves 6

5 1/2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes

2 cups chopped onion

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt plus more if needed

4 cups chicken stock

one 28-ounce can Italian-style tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped

3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped

3 1/2 to 4 cups fresh corn (4 to 5 ears corn) or frozen corn, defrosted

two 19-ounce cans dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large, deep-sided pot (with a lid) set over medium high heat until hot. Add chicken and saute 4 to 5 minutes until light golden. Remove chicken from pan and drain on paper towels.

Add remaining oil to pan and heat until very hot. Add onion and stir and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Return sauteed chicken to pan.

Mix together flour, chili powder, cumin and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over onions and chicken and cook, stirring, a minute more. Add stock, tomatoes and chipotle chiles.

Bring mixture to a simmer, lower heat, cover pan with a lid and cook until chicken is fork-tender and mixture has thickened slightly, 25 to 30 minutes.

Add corn and beans and cook 10 minutes more. Taste and season with more salt, if needed. (Chili can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate. Reheat, uncovered.)

Ladle chili into bowls and garnish each serving with a generous dollop of sour cream and, if desired, with chopped cilantro.

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