This Fall I received a super awesome book that you may want to add to your cookbook collection: The Chili Cookbook by Robb Walsh.
If you want to learn about making chili, this is THE book for you. Mr. Walsh has included every single chili recipe category in the book along with a narrative of where chili originated. The stories behind how chili has evolved and the Chili Queens are fun to read. Chili Queens were businesswomen back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s who made and served chili.
Being from St. Louis, I do not have a lot of experience with chilis. This book goes through each one step by step. The grocery stores near me – even Walmart – are including dried chili sections that are included in the book. For example, a homemade chili powder recipe is included using 2 ounces of dried ancho chiles, cumin, oregano and garlic powder.
Every single chili recipe category you can imagine is in this book from lobster chili to goulash, from Cincinnati chili to four-alarm chili, from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s Championship Chili to short rib chili, from chili queen chili to chipotle chili, from tofu chili to pork vindaloo. The St. Louis Slinger recipe is also included! So for those of us natives who want a copycat recipe or never had one – the South King’s Highway Diner recipe is included in here. There is a photograph with most of the recipes, so the cook will know what the result should look like. Side item recipes are also included like fresh corn tortillas, cornbread and chili con queso.
Want to throw a chili party? The author included a few steps to throw one of those which sounds awfully delicious right now since it is 49 degrees outside.
*I received a complimentary copy of The Chili Cookbook from Blogging For Books for my honest review*
The #1 thing I learned from The Chili Cookbook is never add your canned beans in the beginning. Many recipe call for the dump and walk away method – adding cans of beans to the slow cooker or large pot of chili. But…. they are already cooked. And cooking already cooked items usually doesn’t end well.
Therefore, even if you do not use this recipe – think about when you add your canned goods and if you are cooking something already cooked. When do you add them? About 10 minutes prior to serving the food. This way the beans stay plump and not mushy.
- 1 Tb. olive oil or butter
- 1 – 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, 1/2-1″ pieces (or more if want meatier chili)
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
- 1-2 jalapeno chili, chopped (optional; I did not use because of the kids)
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground paprika (I like smoked)
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or omit if need mild)
- 30 ounces (2 – 14.5 oz cans or about 4 cups) chicken broth (low sodium preferred)
- 2 – 15 oz. cans white kidney beans, drained and rinsed (cannellini beans, Great Northern, etc.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz. Neufchatel cheese (cream cheese) or substitute plain Greek Yogurt (optional, but tasty)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (optional)
- 1 lime, halved
- Toppings: cilantro, Monterey or Pepper Jack cheese, tortilla chips, chopped scallions
- On the stovetop, heat the olive oil or butter over medium heat in a Dutch Oven. Once melted, add chicken and onion to the pot. Continue to saute until cooked through. Remove the chicken mixture and set aside.
- Add garlic, chilies and spices. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken broth and beans. Increase the heat to medium high and bring chili to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes.
- Add the neufchatel cheese in sections and allow to melt. If using Greek yogurt, temper it first by adding a little bit of the hot liquid to the yogurt. Mix and then add to the chili.
- Using an immersion blender or blender, take half or all of the chili in the pot and blend until creamy. This step is optional and simply makes the chili smoother and more creamy.
- Once you have processed the chili, add the chicken and onion back to the pot. Heat through about 15 minutes.
- Squeeze lime juice on top. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper (or black pepper).
- Serve with chips, cilantro, cheese and/or scallions.