Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicken Chili

Yes, I know what you are thinking. Chili in the summer?? Well, here in northern Michigan our forecast has not exactly been what you think of as the dog days of summer. Yesterday was fairly gloomy and I had most of the ingredients for this chili on hand, so here goes.

This is a great chili to have on a cool summer day, or even to take you into the fall or winter. For this time of year, it tastes a bit brighter because I was able to use basil from the garden, rather than the tube I am sometimes forced to use when it is not in season.

The recipe originally comes from Ina, but I made a few changes based on our tastes and the spices I had on hand. Served with some piping hot cornbread Matt whipped up, we had plenty for dinner and a nice lunch today.

Chicken Chili
adapted from Ina Garten

1 large onion, chopped

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and large-diced

1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and large-diced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, or to taste

1 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken

1 (28-ounce) can diced plum tomatoes

1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves

2 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on

Freshly ground black pepper

For garnish:

Chopped scallions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream

Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, paprika, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and shred. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

Note: I added about a cup of chicken broth to stretch the amount of chili. Still a pretty thick chili, nonetheless.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chili Chicken Sandwich

Dorie Greenspan is always a fantastic source for any type of baked good that I might tackle, but her blog is also full of a variety of other savory ideas that are worth a try, as well. Take for example this delicious Chili-Chicken Sandwich. There is really no recipe, just a list of ingredients for you to throw together. We did not have the mushrooms and I substituted green onions for regular onions. As for the sweet chili sauce, I made my own and took Dorie's advice to mix it with a bit of mayo before dressing the sandwich. It was worth the extra calories!
The sandwich had great texture and the flavors mixed well together to provide a fairly light lunch.

Sweet Chili Sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp. garlic, minced
2 T. hungarian sweet pepper
2 tsp. ketchup
cornstarch to thicken, if desired

Bring water and vinegar to a boil and then add the rest of the ingredients. Turn heat down and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add cornstarch at end of cooking if desired. Remove from heat and cool. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Strawberry Sangria

If you are looking for a simple drink to serve on those hot summer nights, this recipe is for you. Sweeter than the average sangria, but still providing a tart kick, it was a delicious and refreshing way to slide into the evening. This really is a great recipe to showcase those local strawberries that are abundant in our area as we speak!

Strawberry Sangria
courtesy of Traverse

one bottle of rose
1/2 cup sugar
1 lemon, sliced
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
2 cups Vernors ginger ale

In a large pitcher mix the wine, sugar, lemon, and strawberries. Refrigerate for several hours, up to one day. Add Vernors just before serving over ice.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Throwdown #1 Lemon Braided Bread

A few weeks back, Matt and I were discussing what sounded good to eat on a cold Sunday. After tossing out a few ideas, we ultimately decided on two variations on a tart. A little smack talking later and Matt suggested that we invite the family and have a good ol' Throwdown. You know, a Throwdown a la Bobby Flay of the Food Network? So, to make a long story short, the fam loved the idea and we decided to set up several Throwdown competitions over the course of the summer.
First up, breakfast foods. I immediately knew what dish I would bring. I had some leftover lemon curd in the fridge, so I thought I would try my hand at the Lemon Braided Bread over at the Smitten Kitchen. Deb never lets me down, so despite the fact I had never made the recipe, I went for it. The results were delicious and the presentation was exactly what I hoped for. I didn't make any changes to the dough recipe, but the lemon curd came straight from Martha. Although I have not manned up and tried other lemon curd recipes, I don't know how you could beat Martha's. It is the perfect combination of tart and sweet and it paired really nicely with the cream cheese and sweet dough.
After the votes were counted, Matt and I came out on top with a tie. We are a force to be reckoned with and the family better keep one eye open!!