Winter is coming and so is my need for a good chili recipe. I always make the classic beef or turkey versions and this time needed a change. I found a recipe for a chicken chili in Food52.com, and used it as an inspiration and discovered that, just like the author suggested it was everything I want, all in one pot.
1 1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs, cubed
2 pieces of uncured thick bacon, sliced
4 tsp coriander
4 tsp chili powder
4 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cans of beans, drained and rinsed. You can use black beans, red kidney or Great Northern, whatever you prefer.
1 can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
2-3 jalapeno peppers, sliced (you can go up or down on this, depending on your tolerance for heat)
One 12-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup chicken stock (optional)
Salt and pepper
1cup medium or coarse cornmeal such as Bob’s Red Mill Organic Polenta Corn Grits
5 cups of water (for soft polenta)
Note: You can use instant polenta if you like for quicker results, I sometimes do. I like Bellino.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
In a deep saucepan, over medium high heat add bacon. Cook until edges are crispy but bacon is still a little soft. Add onion and cook until it’s soft and fragrant. Add chicken, coriander, cumin, and chili powder. Brown chicken on all sides.
Add beans, corn, jalapeños, and tomatoes. If there is not very much juice with the tomatoes, add some chicken stock. You don’t want a soupy chili just enough liquid to cook everything together.
Bring chili to a boil and allow to cook a little and thicken. Remove from heat.
In a pot, boil 5 cups of water. Stir in polenta, best if you use a whisk. Keep stirring. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 to 6 minutes. When polenta is too thick to whisk, stir with a wooden spoon. Polenta is done when texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender. Turn off heat and gently stir in 2 tablespoons butter. Adjust salt to taste.
In a deep oven dish add the chili. Scoop the polenta carefully over the top of the chili, and spread gently into a single layer. Sprinkle fresh black pepper on top.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until polenta has firmed up. Allow to cool briefly, and then scoop into bowls to serve. You can add shredded cheddar and sliced jalapeños on top if you like. Enjoy!