Chicken Chili

I met Jerlene Cannon, a co-owner of Stonewall Farms, at Penny Lane’s locals-only market where farmers from within 100 miles of Evansville displayed their fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, and dairy products every Saturday through October. The regional farmer with a bounty of pastured, free-range poultry; grass-fed lamb, beef, and pork; and free-range turkey and eggs earned my trust that I’m buying a wonderfully healthy product — without skimping on the taste.

I’ve tried the free-range eggs, the osso bucco, and the whole cut-up free-range chicken. I used the chicken as the base for this white chili, a cold-weather delight, and made my own chicken stock from scratch. This chili’s chicken is an alternative to red meat.

Chicken Chili

•  1 whole cut-up chicken (whole fryer if store bought)
•  4 large carrots
•  4 stalks of celery
•  2 large onions
•  Oregano, garlic powder, parsley, rosemary, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon
•  Fresh chili peppers (optional)
•  1/2 to 1 pound great northern beans (available at the River City Food Co-op)
•  Olive oil
•  5 to 6 cloves minced garlic
•  2 ounces (half stick) butter
•  Cornstarch
•  Fresh cilantro and sour cream

Dice the celery, carrots, and one onion into one-inch pieces and place them in a six-quart (or larger) stockpot along with pieces of chicken. Add enough water to cover all ingredients. Add one tablespoon each of rosemary, garlic powder, parsley, and oregano; and a half-tablespoon each of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover, simmering for approximately 30 minutes. Remove all pieces of chicken, and do not discard. Continue to simmer for another hour until liquid has reduced by about a third or half its volume. Store in the refrigerator.

Soak great northern beans overnight. Add one pound for a more bean-dense chili, half a pound if you like a meatier chili. Finely dice one large white onion and fresh chili peppers, and add to a stockpot with two ounces of olive oil, five to six cloves of minced garlic, and two ounces (half stick) of butter. After two minutes when the onions soften, add drained beans, one tablespoon of cumin, a half-tablespoon each of salt and pepper, and four cups of chicken stock.

Simmer on low heat for approximately one hour. Add cooked chicken, one teaspoon of cayenne pepper, one teaspoon of chili powder, and a dash of cinnamon. Cook for one hour. Mix two teaspoons of cornstarch and one-fourth cup of water in a small bowl, and add to chili to thicken. Cook for another 15 minutes, seasoning to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

— Eli Haddix of Evansville has worked in the restaurant business for 12 years.

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