Saturday, September 28, 2013

Green Chile Chicken Chili - experiential cooking

So, last weekend I was really craving White Chicken Chili.  I knew I would be gone most of the week so making a crockpot full of goodness was not the best idea for a single gal...I have to eat that mess all week.  But, last night I had enough.  On my way home from a Relay meeting, I stopped at my local Neighborhood Market and just started putting things in my cart.
 
I'll go ahead and admit I didn't have an official recipe.  I even went rogue and didn't pull up my AllRecipes app.  I was hoping the back of the chili mix would give me some more insight, but it didn't.  So, yes, this whole thing is made up...
 
Saturday Morning Crockpot Green Chile Chicken Chili
 
Frozen seasoning blend (onions, etc) or 1/2 onion, sautéed
1 Pablano pepper, de-seed, grilled and diced (bell pepper instead to eliminate spice)
1 pkg White Chicken Chili seasoning mix
1 can Great Northern Beans or Navy Beans
1 Can Canelloni Beans (white kidney beans)
1 sm can Green Chilies
1 box Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 bag frozen Chicken Fajita Strips (go with Tyson so you have a good brand of meat)
1/2 C verde or tomatillo salsa - can be eliminated to reduce the spice
fresh cilantro, cheese, chips or cornbread
 
Instructions: put everything together in the crockpot and simmer all afternoon
 
Specific instructions - because @bigpittstop always has too much to say!: see below 
 
Last night when I got home, I pan sautéed/browned about 1/2 C of the seasoning blend. Honestly it wasn't measured its what was left over and in a Ziploc bag in my freezer.  Once cooked, it cooked down to about 1/2 cup.  If you like onions and are good with that in your base of soup, I would have probably suggested 1/2 an onion.  Browning them last night while I still had some energy and just putting them in the fridge made prep this morning much easier!

I also cut up 1 Pablano pepper and roasted it in the oven on a cookie sheet.  Again my adjustment would be to put that thing on a grill whole and then cut it up afterwards.  I cut it into tiny pieces and they just didn't hold up in the oven.  I wanted the "roasted" flavor so for sure I should have chargrilled it on the burner or grill pan.  I love the pablano flavor, but it probably added some heat that many would not want.  I added it to the onions and put I the fridge to just dump in the crock pot this morning. 

Today it was all about just dumping everything in.

I put the onions and peppers from last night in the cock pot first.  Opened the beans and fully rinsed them - I think there's an official reason why, but I just don't like all that milky stuff (brine) that beans sit in in their can!  Add the green chilies and 1/2 C verde salsa.  (if you want to eliminate the spice/heat, leave this out and serve on the side to be added when you eat it).  Sprinkle 1 package of white chicken chili seasoning mix.  In true Sandra Lee style it would cost a bundle to get all these good flavors.  McCormick has given you the gift of putting them all together - just go with it!

Normally, I would go with raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts or strips and cut into cubes or pan fry it and add to the crockpot, but I was being lazy and I wanted the smoky flavor that comes from fajita chicken strips.  What I didn't think about was the lack of control of the quality of chicken.  I listed in the ingredients to go with the Tyson Southwest Flavor strips.  I know they do a better control on their chicken products so it should be better.  Also, the strips are in the freezer section.  And since I didn't use the whole bag, I was putting it back in the freezer.  I put the strips in the crock pot frozen and then had to dig them out and cut them while they were piping hot. So, I would suggest warming the strips and cutting into diced pieces before you add them to the soup. 
Pour the box of chicken stock over all ingrediens (of course homemade would be much better...or I just thought..my mom always saves the juice she uses to cook the meat off the turkey bones at thanksgiving...this would be a yummy way to use that and turkey leftovers....calling her now!)

LOOK at that goodness.  I let mine sit in the crockpot all afternoon, but you could just put it all in a big stock pot and simmer for an hour.  Its a rainy day here and with football on the agenda for tonight...this will be perfect.

 
Variations: for those who have issues with any of these ingredients you could use shoepeg corn, mexi corn, black beans, hominy, garbanzo beans, or zucchini (add right before you serve).  If I were to pan fry the chicken before I put it in the crockpot, I would probably add some seasoning and not add it to the crockpot until I was ready to eat.

I will serve with fresh cilantro, fiesta blend cheese, and chips on the side.  Yummy little cheese quesadillas would be good alternative to cornbread (below).

I have Mexican cornbread ready to make and serve with it.  Mom always uses this brand for her cornbread dressing so I thought I would try it...I'm usually a jiffy girl when it comes to cornbread but they don't make a Mexican version.  Guess I could have just made it Mexican...oh well!  I'll add a can of green chilies and cheese...surely it will be perfect!!

Let me know what variations you add....





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