Versatile Chili: So Much More Than Just Beef and Beans

There’s nothing better than a big pot of chili simmering away on the stove on a cold Sunday afternoon. It’s the perfect one-pot dish to serve guests and friends. It’s also great to make just for yourself and then save portions for an easy weeknight meal. But it doesn’t have to be chock full of beef and beans. I love trying out new recipes and then making them my own. Here’s two I recently made and really liked:

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Adapted from a recipe found on the blog closetcooking.com

I’m from Rochester, NY and have been traveling back and forth to Buffalo, NY for years to visit family. So, every now and then, I get a serious chicken wing craving. This chili satisfies any wing craving while saving you some calories, fat, and clean-up, too (no need for hand wipes). Top with crumbly blue cheese and the leaves from the celery. Chicken wings in a bowl!

Makes about 4 servings.

Ingredients: buffalo chicken chili

  • About 1 lb chicken breast
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 head of celery, diced, leaves set aside
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • about 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1, 15-ounce can or about 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1, 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1, 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s RedHot)

Directions:

1. Poach the chicken. Place in a pan, cover the breasts with water. Add a pinch or two of salt and some black pepper. Bring to a boil then let simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once cooled, shred.

2. Meanwhile, in a large stock pot or dutch oven, add about a tbsp of oil and heat over medium-high. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook until tender, about 10-12 minutes.

3. Add the broth and stir. Add the shredded chicken through the hot sauce and let simmer – about 15-20 minutes.

4. When ready to serve, spoon into bowls and top with crumbled blue cheese and the leaves from the celery. Get ready for some kick!

Triple B and Winter Greens Chili

This chili includes two of my favorite winter ingredients–butternut squash and winter greens. It’s easy, ready in less than an hour and tastes fab. You hardly notice there’s no meat. I love it topped with sliced avocado and a sprinkle of shredded cheddar.

Adapted from a recipe found on epicurious.com

Makes about 4-6 main course servings. photo-8

Ingredients:

  • About 1-2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp chipotle chili powder (regular chili powder works as well – but chipotle gives a really nice smokey flavor)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1, 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes (fire roasted is great for this recipe)
  • 3, 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • about 5 cups or 1, 10-ounce bag of winter greens (Swiss chard, collards or kale), coarsely chopped

Directions:

1. Over medium-high heat, heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and garlic and saute until tender, about 7-9 minutes.

2. Add squash and stir for about 2 minutes.

3. Add chili powder, cumin, beans, broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the squash is tender–about 15-20 minutes.

5. Stir in greens and cover. Let simmer for about 5 more minutes. Greens should still be bright.

6. Ladle into bowls and serve with sliced avocado and a sprinkle of shredded cheddar, if desired.

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