Having all my chickens in the roost has prompted a plethora of kitchen activity over the Holiday Season.
Cookies, candies, breads, soups, stews….we won’t discuss the mess.
I have made several incarnations (Paula Dean, Giada De Laurentiis, Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman) of Chicken Chili over the last few months, trying to find or create MINE and I think this is it!
2 cans cannellini beans (use your favorite white bean)
1/4 cup butter – 1/2 stick
1 medium onion – chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
pinch of fennel seeds – PINCH
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Cup milk (optional)
2 Tablespoons corn meal (optional)
2 cups fresh spinach
salt & pepper to taste
In a medium stock pot poach chicken breasts in 4 cups seasoned water. (I season with garlic salt and a bay leaf). Remove chicken and save the broth. In the same pan saute onion over medium heat until golden. Add garlic, stir for a few minutes then add cumin, fennel seeds** and chili powder. Careful not to burn the garlic or spices.
Add beans with liquid, diced chicken pieces and enough of the reserved poaching liquid to just cover.
This was a bit thin for me. I mixed the corn meal with the milk to make a slurry and added that to the chili. The flavor was nice subtle addition and a flourless way to thicken the chili. Pile the fresh spinach on top of the simmering mixture and cover for 10-15 minutes, then stir in the wilted spinach. Taste….add salt and pepper if needed.
Serve, top with cheese if desired. I like Parmesan. The family likes Monterey Jack.
**Fennel flavor intensifies over time. I only used 5-6 seeds. I have used 1/4 teaspoon in an earlier recipe and the flavor was overwhelming on day two.