CHICKEN CHILI VERDE WITH ANASAZI BEANS

Even though today felt like summer again, fall is slowly starting to show its face here and there. I am looking forward to cold windy days and making dishes that are comforting and warm your whole body. Things like soup and chili that make you want to stay in and curl up on the couch. With that being said, I decided to make a big batch of Chicken Chili Verde with Anasazi Beans today. Chili is one of those dishes that is always better the next day and even better the day after that. It starts to thicken, the flavors meld together, and by the 2nd or 3rd day, it is perfection. It is also a great dish to freeze. Then, when that fall day finally shows up, you will be all ready to go. This recipe is for a simple and fairly mild chili. Feel free to add heat with a few extra Serrano or Jalapeño peppers.

CHICKEN CHILI VERDE WITH ANASAZI BEANS

Serves 8 – 10

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large chicken breasts or 1 whole 3-4 lb chicken, cooked, meat shredded
4 Poblano peppers
1 Serrano chili
20 small tomatillos or 10 medium tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
1/2 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted, and finely ground
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, and 2 extra tablespoons for garnish
2 cups Anasazi beans (or any pinto-like bean), soaked and cooked until tender
2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
Salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
Shredded cheese for garnish

Soak 2 cups of Anasazi or Pinto beans in a large bowl for 1-2 hours. While they are soaking, fill a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the tomatillos and cook for around 5 minutes until soft. Drain and rinse under cold water. Chop. Set aside.

After the beans have been soaked, add them to a medium saucepan filled with water and boil for an hour or until tender. Salt the beans at the end. They will cook more in the chili, so don’t worry too much if there is still a little bite to them.

Toast the cumin seeds in a pan. Once toasted, finely grind into a powder in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Set aside.

To roast the Poblano peppers and Serrano chili, place the peppers directly on the stovetop grate. Turn the flame on high, and carefully turn the pepper every 30 seconds or so. You will begin to see the skin starting to char, blister, and turn black. Once you have charred all sides of the peppers, place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the peppers “sweat” or steam. This will help the skin break away from the pepper and make it much easier for you to remove the skin. Once they have cooled, remove the charred skin with your hands, and finely chop. Set aside.

Place a large stock pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, and cumin. Sauté until the onion softens, around 5 minutes. Add the chiles, tomatillos, shredded chicken, cilantro, oregano, a generous pinch of salt and some cracked pepper. Pour in 2 cups of chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add the beans and cook 30 minutes to an hour more or until beans are tender. Taste. Season with salt and pepper as needed. If the chili is very watery, you can remove the lid and let it cook, this will start to reduce the amount of liquid. Remember that the chili will thicken overnight. So don’t get worried if it seems a little watery or thin in consistency. Make sure you cool the chili down to room temperature before you store it in the refrigerator or freezer.

To serve, garnish with some thinly sliced scallions, shredded cheese, and fresh cilantro leaves.

Enjoy!

(adapted from the Rancho Gordo Cookbook, Heirloom Beans)

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