Crisp fall air with hints of warmth makes me yearn for comfort food—big simmering pots of soup, stew and chili to warm the belly and the heart. And with hunting season right around the corner, I find it most enjoyable to spend a Sunday afternoon listening to some good music, sipping a glass of wine, and preparing a wonderful meal to welcome my husband and sons home from their weekend pilgrimage. Each has their own favorite: Jack loves wild rice soup; for Will, split pea soup with ham reigns supreme; bring on the Scandinavian meatballs and mashed potatoes for Peter; and it’s chicken chili with sour cream and cheddar cheese for George.
But, this year I couldn’t wait for the hunting homecomings to prepare my first massive pot of chicken chili! With my 8-quart Dutch oven beckoning, I got busy combining lots of chicken and fresh vegetables with Rotel tomatoes, Bush’s chili beans in sauce, and savory spices to make this a heart-warming, satisfying meal. Not only was it YUMMY, I have more than enough to serve it again in a day or two, making it a budget-friendly meal as well.
So, I find it fitting to share my chicken chili recipe for all to enjoy! Know this “foundation” can be tweaked with more or less of the seasonings—or maybe ground beef or turkey— to suit your family’s preference.
6 chicken breasts, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
4-6 celery stalks, chopped
2-4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 cans of Rotel Tomatoes (I use the original)
4 cans of Bush’s Chili Beans in sauce (I use medium)
1 small jar of Pace Picanté Sauce (I use medium)
1 t. ground cumin
1 – 2 t. chili powder (I use 1; you can add lots more it you want)
½ t. salt
1 – 2 t. Wahoo! Chili seasoning from Tastefully Simple (optional)
Coat the bottom of the Dutch oven or large pot with olive oil (about 2-4 tablespoons) and sauté the chicken, onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic until the chicken is cooked. Add tomatoes, chili beans, picanté sauce, stir to combine. Add cumin, chili powder, salt and Wahoo! Chili (or more chili powder to taste) and mix well. Place the lid on the pot and let it simmer for a couple hours; correct spices about half way through to suit your taste. Remove the lid for the last half hour, which will thicken it.
Serve with fresh saltines, sour cream, and grated cheddar cheese.