Friday, July 25, 2008

Great Food, Poor Service

Given all the restaurant eating of late, I was initially excited about our plans to dine at home last night ... until 6:30 p.m. rolled around and I realized that there was no one here to take my order. I searched high and low for the waitress, but she was no where to be found. What kind of restaurant is this? Oh, that's right, *I'm* the waitress tonight ... and the chef. You know what that means ... chicken!

I knew I needed to make something easy and hearty so I turned to The South Beach Quick & Easy Cookbook and decided to adapt one of its chili recipes. The original called for turkey cutlets, but I opted to substitute some ground chicken breast. I upped the amount of chili powder, added some tomato paste for richness and also added some cocoa powder. This last addition may sound strange to you - but I never make chili without the addition of some form of chocolate. It adds depth and balance to the chili / tomato flavors and is a complete necessity in my book. I use whatever I've got on hand - sometimes its cocoa powder, other times I may add a small square of bittersweet chocolate and let that melt into the chili. Sooooo luscious. Try it, you'll like it!

I served it over some brown rice pilaf, with a side of steamed summer squash, and it was an altogether delicious meal. The husband loved it too. As you may have guessed ... there was no busboy here to clear the table and the dishwasher seemed to have taken the night off as well. Leading me to conclude that while the food at this particular "restaurant" was magnificent, the service leaves something to be desired!

Chicken and White Bean Chili:

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken breast
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes*
  • 1 heaping tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder*
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • one 14.5 oz. can of Petite Diced Tomatoes with Jalapeño
  • 2 tsp. roasted garlic tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • one 15 oz. can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • minced fresh parsley or cilantro
  • shredded, reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • minced red onion
  • non-fat sour cream
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautée until the onion is just translucent, but not browned, @ 4 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and the ground chicken breast. Stir the mixture to combine, breaking up the ground chicken into bite-sized bits. Continue sautéeing and breaking apart the chicken until it is cooked throughout and no longer pink, @ 5 or 6 minutes. Add the chili powders and the cumin and stir to combine. Add the can of tomatoes, with their juice, the tomato paste, cocoa powder and the chicken broth and stir to combine well. Rub the oregano between the palms of your hands to crush it and add to the chili. Stir. Raise the heat and let the chili come to the boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer the chili, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Add the rinsed and drained beans, and let the chili simmer for an additional 15 minutes or so, until the beans are warmed and the mixture has thickened slightly. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt, pepper and whatever else you like. If the chili becomes too thick at any point, you may add additional broth to your liking.

Serve topped with any and all of the suggested garnishes and enjoy!

* Notes - As written, this combination of spices will yield a very spicy chili. If you're heat-averse you can omit both the crushed red pepper flakes and the chipotle chili powder. If you opt to leave out the chipotle, you may need to add some additional chili powder - let your taste buds be your guide. I like it spicy, but YMMV. Lastly, feel free to use whatever sort of beans you like in this chili, any kind will do.

According to the book, this recipe will yield 4 one and a quarter cup servings, but it can certainly be doubled if you like to batch-cook.



Chicken is the only meat I actualy eat. Unless you count fish as a meat. Tell a lie I have burgers now and then if I'm desperate and the only thing around is a fast food restaurant but otherwise I'm a pretty healthy eater.

But don't you think the most satisfying meal is the one you make yourself?

Thanks for the comment and I'm glad you're going to add me - did you watch the other little animations too? They're only short.



livelaughlauren said...

sounds like a great recipe but im a vegetarian lol. but it sounds lovely anyways!

thanks for the comment by the way[:
i hope you check out their music..i think people of any age will enjoy them[:

i hope you keep reading my blog!

Deb said...

Sounds yummy and spicy - and I do love my spice! I usually make my chili with very lean ground beef and the chocolate is a great addition. I shall have to try that next time I make some chili which could be while since it's blazing hot in Florida and I consider good chili to be more of a cool nights food. Hope your weekend is great!


.nerd. said...

Hey! Great recipe. I definitely plan on trying it, considering the fact that the only meat I like is chicken. I will be back to learn some more! Take care.

Penelope said...

Ah, the Beach Diva & the Ski Goddess finally find common ground in chili! For years, I've made chili using cubed roast turkey as I find ground turkey to have a certain eraser-like chewiness. Typical prep for a one-week solo ski trip is whip up a gallon or so of turkey chili. Seal it up in a couple of Ziploc freezer bags and freeze. Add to checked luggage on the morning of take-off. Upon arriving at destination, thaw on counter (there's no discernable thawing after flying at an altitude of 20,000+ feet) and enjoy every night over the course of a week! The trip is, after all, all about the skiing! Try it out after your next Thanksgiving extraveganza!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Yay, I'm not the only chicken freak! LOL

I agree, JamJar, it generally is more satisfying to cook at home ... and I'm looking forward to doing so tonight!

Hi Nerd, and welcome to my blog! Thanks so much for stopping by ... there will be plenty of chicken to come in the future so, stay tuned.

Deb - You're right, I can't see cooking much chili during the Florida summers. I don't know how you manage it!

Penelope, or should I say Ski Goddess, what a great idea about freezing and packing that chili. Very resourceful! I will certainly try the roast turkey chili as it sounds delish ... and you're kind of right about the eraser-like ground turkey. Funny!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Hi Lauren, thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it! Will stop by your blog later on today. Good luck with it!

pixelgal said...

I tried this recipe using roast leftover chicken instead of the ground kind and it came out great! I also de-spiced it for my 'mature' tastes using 1/2 the recommended amounts and substituted regular diced tomatoes and tomato paste for the kind with garlic in it. Instead I added garlic in a jar to the fresh garlic for more taste....with no cotswold savory results! And used a dollop of lowfat yogurt instead of the sour cream. We loved it. Thanks Diva dear!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thank God there wasn't a "Savory Incident", pixelgal! LOL

I'm glad you liked it. We had it again last night and I, too, added a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream. Delish!