Saturday, March 28, 2015

Chicken Chorizo Chili

This brilliant, vibrant, red dish is absolutely beautiful when steaming hot and sitting before you, but it's just as tasty as it is pretty and the perfect feast when protein, warmth and a kick of heat are what's on order. Simple to make and easy to eat, I like to whip this up when I'm home alone and keep the leftovers for lunch the next day.

This Chicken Chorizo Chili is quite spicy, so if you prefer something a bit milder, I'd suggest skipping the mild chili powder altogether and letting the chorizo do the heavy lifting. However, if you can stand it, the chili powder ups the temperature on this dish, making it perfect for cold or rainy night suppers! This feeds two hungry people or three medium-hungry people, however if you want to stretch it out a bit, try doubling the beans, chicken stock and tomato paste and it will go much further. You might also consider serving this with rice, a sliced baguette on the side or tortilla chips, but when I make it, I love it all on its own… This is one of my favorite wheat-free feasts for when I feel I've overdone it on the pasta & starchy carbs and I need a boost of protein.

Now, I know it may seem odd to add cocoa powder and cinnamon to a chili if you've never done this before, but I must insist that you trust me here. These two ingredients really bring out the flavor of the chicken, chorizo and other spices and they are essential. There won't be a cinnamon chocolate flavor at all - they simply add a roundness to this chili and all other kinds of chili I cook.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
500ml chicken stock (from a cube)
1 tablespoon garlic oil
190g cooking chorizo, roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon mild chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt flakes
Several grinds of fresh black pepper

1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium-large saucepan or flameproof casserole and add the chicken pieces. Continue boiling until fully cooked - this won't take long, maybe 5 minutes or so. Check the chicken by cutting a larger piece in half to ensure it's cooked through and then remove from the stock to a bowl and keep warm.

2. In a wok or frying pan big enough to hold all the ingredients, heat the garlic oil over medium heat. Add the chopped chorizo and cook for a few minutes until it starts to bronze and give up some of it's red color to the oil. Add the beans, chili powder and paprika and stir.

3. Pour the chicken stock used to cook the chicken into the pan and add the cocoa powder, cinnamon, tomato paste, a pinch of salt and several generous grindings of fresh black pepper. Stir to combine.

4. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and allow this to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until everything is hot and bubbling away nicely. Taste the broth and adjust any spices here as needed.

To serve this dish, I like to transfer the chili back to the flameproof casserole I use for poaching the chicken and take it to the table with a ladle for family style serving, however this is totally up to you. I would also consider serving in warm bowls so it keeps some of its heat, especially on days when you need a bit of warming up. Enjoy!

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