Hindo’s holiday* black bean chicken chili satisfies.

in the bowl 1

Before that winter storm apparently closes down the top half of our country, run out and get the ingredients to make this chicken chili! It will warm you up from the inside out as you finish up holiday preparations and/or will be a simple reheat if all that ‘prep’ has you exhausted. This is chili for a crowd so a very large pot is required!

In my ‘burg it is a balmy 70 plus degrees this afternoon with sunny skies and a slight breeze, so I am guessing a white Christmas is not on the agenda for us again this year. Not a surprise in these parts! But to all those out there who will be rolling in the deep… deep snow, that is… I salute you. May your holiday be festive, your home be warm with comfort, and your chicken chili spicy!

* This chili is deemed “holiday” by use of red and green bell peppers, but freestyle it with any bell pepper color you like!

The ingredients for this chili - well almost. Missing are the stock/broth, the beer and the other large can of tomatoes. Oops!

The ingredients for this chili – well almost. Missing are the stock/broth, the beer and the other large can of tomatoes. Oops!

Cut the chicken into small chunks. I like to cut up the chicken when it's partially frozen, easier to evenly cut up, I think.

Cut the chicken into small chunks. I like to cut up the chicken when it’s partially frozen, I find it easier to cut up into an even dice like this.

After cooking the chicken, saute the veggies in more olive oil. So pretty and smells delicious in my kitchen!

After cooking the chicken, saute the veggies in more olive oil. So pretty and smells delicious in my kitchen!

Mix teh seasonings (like salt) , the spices and the teaspoon of sugar in a bowl. Add this to cooked veggies.

Mix the seasonings, the spices and the teaspoon of sugar in a bowl. Add this to cooked veggies.

I use black beans in this chili. Wash them in a colander and allow to drain for a few minutes before adding to the veggies with the tomatoes.

I use black beans in this chili. Wash them in a colander and allow to drain for a few minutes before adding to the chili mixture.

Add the broth and stir gently.

Add the broth and stir gently.

Here is the beer I used in this batch - a nice amber ale. Use your favorite.

Here is the beer I used in this batch – a nice amber ale. Use your favorite.

I realize you probably know how to pour beer into a pot...but this was such a good shot - you can almost smell the beer and spices wafting  in the air!

I realize you know how to pour beer into a pot…but this was such a good “action” shot. You can almost smell the beer and spices wafting through the air!

If your chili is sort of foamy looking at this point (like this!) do not worry. It will calm down soon.

If your chili is sort of foamy looking at this point (like this!) do not worry. It will calm down soon.

After simmering for awhile, the mixture thickens and the flavors concentrate. Time to add the chicken!

After simmering for awhile, the mixture thickens and the flavors concentrate. Time to add the chicken!

Simmer the chile for awhile longer and add the hot peppers. I've always felt that spicy heat  is a personal choice. Thus, I use fresh peppers to bring up the heat to my liking and offer condiments to accommodate personal heat and spice preferences.

Simmer the chile for awhile longer and add the hot peppers. I’ve always felt that spicy heat is a personal choice. Thus, I use fresh peppers to bring up the heat to my liking, and offer condiments to accommodate personal heat and spice preferences “in the bowl”.

The chili is ready! Remember to remove any hot pepper halves from the completed pot. If not some one may get a surprise in their bowl.

The chili is ready! Remember to remove any hot pepper halves from the completed pot. If not, someone may get a spicy surprise in their bowl!

Here's my own bowl - with a dollop of sour cream and a spoonful of smoked pepper sauce. Yum!

Here’s my own bowl – with a dollop of sour cream and a spoonful of smoked pepper sauce. Yum!

Black Bean Chicken Chili

  • 5-6 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast (cut into small cubes)
  • 7-8 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 large sweet onions, diced (about 3 cups)
  • 3 large sweet bell peppers, diced
  • 3 large cans (26.5 oz) black beans (about 6 cups) rinsed and drained
  • (2) 28 oz size cans fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • (4) 14.5 oz size cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 tbl olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock/broth
  • 2 bottles of good quality beer
  • 2-4 hot peppers (jalepeno, serrano, habernaro or your choice for the heat you like)

Spice & seasoning mixture:

  • 2 tsp. salt +
  • 2 tsp. adobo seasoning
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp ancho chili pepper – ground
  • 1 tsp. chipolte pepper – ground
  • 2 tsp. smoked sweet paprika (Spanish style)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Favorite toppings and accoutrements like pepper sauce, hot sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped onions, etc.

In a very large pot heat 2 tbl olive oil to medium high (not smoking). Add in chicken and cook, stirring every so often until all chicken is just cooked through. This will take about 10-12 minutes. You may also cook in two batches, dividing olive oil and chicken between the two.

Remove chicken to a platter or bowl and set aside in the refrigerator. Pour out any leftover juices from the chicken. Add remaining 2 tbl oil to pot and heat to medium. Stir in the garlic, onions and bell pepper. Stir mixture and cook on medium about 6-7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and cook another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile mix all the spices and seasonings (and sugar) together in a small bowl. Uncover the vegetables and stir in the spices and seasoning mixture. Add in the beans. Stir. Add in the broth and all the tomatoes. Stir again. Bring up the heat to a simmer – this may take 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally. Leave lid off.

When heated and starting to bubble around the edges add the beer, stirring gently after each bottle is added. Keep heating the chili mixture at a simmer (not a rolling boil). Simmer at this temperature about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Turn heat down slightly and add chicken. Stir gently. Allow to cook, uncovered, for 30 more minutes. Meanwhile, slice the hot peppers in half and remove the seeds. Use gloves to handle the peppers, if necessary. Place as many hot pepper halves into the chili as you like. Stir. Allow to cook on low for 15 minutes, stirring gently every 3 or 4 minutes.

At this point taste a sample of the chili to see if it has the heat you like. If it does, remove the pepper halves and if it does not, leave them in for another 10 minutes or so before tasting again. You can repeat this step again if you like. When the heat is right, adjust the salt, if necessary, as well. Be sure to remove the hot peppers prior to serving unless you’d like someone to get a rather fiery surprise!

Serve in warm bowls with hot sauce, pepper sauce, sour cream, chopped jalepeno, onion, what have you…

This makes a whole lotta chili. Enough for at least 15 large bowls, but it freezes well up to two weeks and leftovers are very tasty too!

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Down home goodness with braised chicken with leeks

Braised chicken with leeks on the plate

Now that almost two weeks has passed since the big turkey feast, it seems that poultry may be back on the menu for some. While I enjoyed our turkey (brined to perfection I may add!) and I will surely be grateful for the stock I made over 8 hours out of the carcass, the bird, of the genus Meleagris, will be the last served at our house for a while. I am not one to roast a turkey other than for Thanksgiving mainly because the inevitable overload of leftovers allow us all to get our fill, tackling any possible “craving” for roasted turkey for a good six months, if not until next November. However, we are back to partaking in a bird of a different feather – chicken.

Personally I like to buy and prepare whole chicken for the most part. I have some decent knives, I know the technique required to properly cut up a whole bird so there’s no reason not to. I also prefer organic or “natural” (hormone and antibiotic free) chicken so buying whole birds and preparing them myself is less expensive too.

Since the time change, and as cooler weather approaches here in the Lowcountry, its time for comfort foods like soups, stews, and all manner of slow cooked goodness. There are several Southern specialties that fall into this category. Maybe you’re heard of some of these and wondered, what the ??? Here are four of which I am familiar:

  • Bog: Typically a chicken bog that includes smoked sausage and rice in its ingredient list. This is a “South Carolina thing” for sure. Similar to a “pilau” but well, more “boggy”, and less “highfalutin”. Usually made for a crowd this pairs well with an oyster roast (and beer) on a cold night.
  • Pilau: Also called ‘purloo’ and pronounced PER-low. Specifically associated with Charleston, (also in South Carolina) with rice as a central ingredient and incorporating chicken or shrimp as the protein, the typical celery and onion duet and perhaps, okra and tomatoes. Basically fancy ‘chicken and rice’. The main difference in this and a bog is that the rice is fluffier (drier?).
  • Burgoo: My experience with this is at Derby parties as it is typically a Kentucky dish or in the least folks from that state have taken ownership of this concoction made from “whatever the good Lord provided” – venison, squirrel, game birds, raccoon or opossum. This is a thick stew and it is said a good burgoo should be able to have a spoon stand up in it. The ones I’ve tasted included lima or butter beans and corn plus a good kick of heat.
  • Brunswick Stew: Tomato based and includes chicken, but historically rabbit and/or squirrel were utilized in this stew. Includes lots of veggies like corn, okra and lima or butter beans as well. Versions and bragging rights for formulating this stew run the Southern gamut from Brunswick, Georgia into North Carolina up to Virginia. I see this served quite often these days as a side to barbeque in NC and Virginia. But not in SC – sacrilege!

In my home state we serve another distinctively South Carolina dish called ‘hash’ with our barbeque (along with coleslaw, potato salad and brown or red rice, perhaps). But hash deserves its own post so I’ll leave that for another day…

While my recipe for braised chicken with leeks is neither a bog nor a burgoo nor a pilau, it is quite tasty nevertheless and relatively simple. The good Carolina girl I am serves this with fluffy rice – and lots of sauce spooned over the top.

Be sure to wash the leeks well as sand gets stuck between the stalk/leaves. No one likes gritty braised chicken!

Be sure to wash the leeks well as sand gets stuck between the stalk/leaves. No one likes gritty braised chicken!

Fresh pork sides or better known as "belly". Yum.

Fresh pork sides or better known as “belly”. Yum.

I really like that Montreal Seasoning - both the chicken and the steak varieties  are very good.

I really like that Montreal Seasoning – both the chicken and the steak varieties are very good.

Drain the cooked pork belly on paper towels. You can top each serving with a few of these or use them in crackin' cornbread or... if you're like me just sneak a few as a cook's treat.

Drain the cooked pork belly on paper towels. You can top each serving with a few of these or use them in crackin’ cornbread or… if you’re like me just sneak a few as a cook’s treat.

Brown the dredged chicken in the pork belly drippings. It took two batches for me as I have a very large Dutch oven.

Brown the dredged chicken in the pork belly drippings. It took two batches for me as I have a very large Dutch oven.

After browning the chicken and removing it to a hlding plate or platter, wipe out the Dutch oven. Then melt the butter in the pan and add the leeks and the whole garlic cloves. Sprinkle with flour.

After browning the chicken and removing it to a hlding plate or platter, wipe out the Dutch oven. Then melt the butter in the pan and add the leeks and the whole garlic cloves. Sprinkle with flour.

Add the stock and heat to a simmer or low boil stirring constantly.

Add the stock and heat to a simmer or low boil stirring constantly.

Add the browned chicken back to the Dutch Oven in one layer.

Add the browned chicken back to the Dutch Oven in one layer.

After braising in the oven, looks and smells so delicious.  Remove the chicken carefully to a warmed platter. The platter should also be somewhat deep to hold all the delectable sauce!

After braising in the oven, looks and smells so delicious. Remove the chicken carefully to a warmed platter. The platter should also be somewhat deep to hold all the delectable sauce!

Here the sherry goes into the sauce on the stove top. Boil a few minutes, turn down (or off) the heat and add the cream.

Here the sherry goes into the sauce on the stove top. Boil a few minutes, turn down (or off) the heat and add the cream.

Pour the sauce over the warm chicken (you did keep it warm, right?). Serve at once with biscuits or crusty bread to sop up the sauce.

Pour the sauce over the warm chicken (you did keep it warm, right?). Serve at once with biscuits or crusty bread to sop up the sauce.

Braised Chicken with Leeks

  • 2 leeks, washed thoroughly and sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cut-up chicken (or a combination of breast, thighs and wings and legs) extra skin removed
  • 2 slices pork belly (or side), chopped into pieces
  • 1 tsp Montreal chicken seasoning
  • ½ tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • ¼ tsp ground thyme
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbl all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cream sherry
  • 1 1/2 tbl butter
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock or broth
  • ½ cup light cream (half & half)
  • fresh cracked pepper

In a small bowl mix the Montreal chicken seasoning, tarragon, thyme, sage and ½ tsp salt with the flour. Set aside. In a large, heavy pan or Dutch oven cook the pork belly until crisp. Remove and drain the cracklings on paper towels.

Heat pork drippings remaining in the pan. Dredge chicken pieces in seasoned flour mixture. Brown chicken well in two or three batches in the drippings. Remove chicken to a platter. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wipe out the Dutch oven and melt the butter in the pan. Sauté the leeks and garlic in the butter until soft, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tbl of flour and cook another minute, stirring often. Add 3 cups stock, stirring or whisking to combine. Bring up to a low boil and carefully add chicken pieces back into the pan so the chicken is in one layer. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and several cracks of black pepper (or about 1 tsp ground pepper).

Cover and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove cover, turn chicken pieces, and reduce oven heat to 325 degrees and place back in oven for another 25-30 minutes. Remove chicken to a large, deep platter and cover to keep warm. Place Dutch oven back on the stove top and heat remaining pan sauce, adding sherry and stirring to combine. Allow to bubble and simmer about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add the cream, stirring to combine. Pour sauce over chicken and add more cracked fresh pepper over the top if you like. Serve immediately with fluffy brown or white rice or broad noodles. If your cholesterol is in check, top each serving with a few of the leftover pork belly cracklings’ if you like. Serves 4-6.

Peachy-keen chicken salad with a curry kick.

Recently I posted a recipe and accompanying ‘how-to’ for peach chutney – with cherries and I mentioned that I would be sharing some recipes for using said chutney. The first is chicken salad. Okay so I just heard a collective “ugh” from those of the male persuasion and an “alright” from most of the women. I fully realize that chicken salad is a woman-thing, like quiche or any tea-time sandwich served with the crusts removed.

But perhaps, just maybe, this chutney will change the most ardent “I don’t eaten chicken salad” manly man. That’s because this chicken salad has a definite “kick” – mostly due to the inclusion of the chutney – and a little because of the addition of Balti seasoning, a great curry seasoning from Penzy’s. Since I consider myself a chicken salad connoisseur of sorts, I am proud of this recipe in all its simplicity. This chicken salad is wonderful scooped onto a bed of lettuce, piled high on crusty, toasted bread or tucked inside a pita pocket.

The chicken I used in this recipe is my tea-brined roasted chicken but another option is deboned, rotisserie chicken purchased from your local market or deli or any roasted chicken, actually. I happened to have some luscious purple grapes in my fruit bin, but any seedless variety will taste great. And while I adore Penzy’s Balti Seasoning you can easily substitute your favorite curry powder.

My experience with this recipe is that the flavors are best after being refrigerated for a few hours. I also prefer my chicken salad slightly chunky but feel free to either mince the chicken or only coarsely chop it, as per your own preference.

Looking for more ways to enjoy that peach chutney? Please stay tuned… I’ve only just begun!

Ingredients. No southern-style chicken salad would be ‘right’ without hard boiled eggs.

Mix the mayo, chicken, chutney and eggs together well so that the chutney is distributed throughout the mixture.

Add the Balti (or curry) seasoning and mix well.

Fold in the toasted almonds and the grapes last. Mix gently.

Keeps well for 3 days, covered and refrigerated.

Peachy Curry Chicken Salad with a Kick

2 cups chopped cooked chicken, preferably tea brined
½ cup peach chutney with cherry or your favorite peach chutney
½ scant cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1 tsp. Balti seasoning (or your favorite curry powder to taste)
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Scant cup of sliced fresh seedless grapes

Mix chicken, chutney, mayo, eggs and seasoning together in a medium mixing bowl. Carefully fold in the almonds and grapes. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour for flavors to meld. Season with salt to taste if necessary and serve as a sandwich, with crackers or on your favorite salad greens. Makes 4-6 servings.

Livin’ on grilling time with Moroccan-style chicken

I grill a lot. You may have noticed this by reading southbyse.com. It is just easy since we live in such a temperate climate here in the Lowcountry. I also like the fact that with the gas grill it’s an easy cleanup and we keep the heat out of the house, especially this time of year.

Grilled chicken is a family favorite, but it can get boring – it’s chicken after all. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and I found a great one with this Moroccan chicken. It is based on a Bon Appetite recipe from 2003 and honestly, it is almost the same. Here are the few differences and tips I have incorporated after making this many, many times:

• The original recipe calls for only olive oil but I have found that using mostly canola oil (or safflower or grape oil) is better since olive oil has a lower burn temperature.

• I also like this with drumsticks and thighs as I find grilled chicken breasts seems to dry out – plus I like the rich flavor of ‘dark meat” chicken. Oh, thighs and legs are less expensive too.

• Use bone-in chicken not boneless. The bones add flavor and give the meat something to hang on to… boneless thighs tend shrink up to nothing. By the same measure I prefer leaving the skin on as it helps keep the meat moist and makes for a prettier presentation too with a nice grill-mark sear on the grill.

This grilled chicken is a superb entrée for a crowd and since should soak awhile, it’s mostly a do-ahead recipe. You can easily double or triple this recipe. If you want to go authentic Moroccan serve with a couscous salad, grilled eggplant and mint tea. Or go Southern-style with homemade potato salad, grilled zucchini squash and Vidalia onions and iced tea (or a fairly full-bodied Chardonnay or Saint-Véran Burgundy).

Ingredients include lots of spices, fresh citrus fruits and chicken, of course.

A close up of the pretty limes, oranges and lemon. Smells divine!

This is an easy recipe. the most time consuming part is getting all the ingredients together – here is everything but the sliced fruit in a bowl. Just mix it together.

Place the chicken pieces in the bag , add the marinade and the sliced fruit. Make sure the marinade is coating the chicken and place the closed bag ( or covered bowl) in the refrigerator. During the marinade time flip the bag over a time or two.

After marinating all day this is how the chicken looks. You can discard the fruit and excess marinade. Get your grill ready!

The chicken goes onto the grill. Be sure to watch it carefully as both the oil-infused marinade and the chicken itself can cause flare-ups and burning.

Another shot of the grilled chicken. Moist and flavorful!

Grilled Chicken, Moroccan-style

  • Chicken pieces: mixed thighs and drumsticks, 12 pieces in total. Do NOT use boneless.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (or safflower or grape oil)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar – mild such as rice wine vinegar
  • 2 oranges, 1 squeezed (reserve juice) and 1 sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 3 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar (Demera or light brown)
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

Wash and dry chicken pieces and set aside. In a bowl mix the oils, vinegar, spices and salt. Add in the juice from 1 orange. Add sliced fruits. In a large zippered plastic bag or shallow container add chicken and pour the marinade and fruit over the chicken. Cover or secure the bag and place in the refrigerator to marinate at  8-12 hours. Turn the mixture over a few times throughout the marinating time.

Prepare your grill. When ready, sear chicken pieces on the grill, careful that they do not burn. Since the marinade contains a lot of oil (and if the skin is left on the chicken) it will easily catch on fire. Grill until cooked through. Serve immediately. Serves 6.