January 7, 2014

Tuxedo Chicken Chili and Baked Polenta

New years day is sometimes more of a mixed bag than New Year's Eve is.  I find that there tends to be a little bit of regret - from the night before, hopefulness - for the year to come, and some relief - for getting to wipe the slate clean.  This year a group of us got together at the Adrift Hotel in Long Beach, WA to eat a good meal, spend some time together gussied up and drink way too much because of the short distance it takes to stumble back to your room.

The next day left me going through my mixed bag of emotions which led me to make this soup.  It had a fancy title, sounded healthy, and little chopping was required for my hungover lazy self.  I expected this soup to be good but it actually turned out to be incredible.  I measure that based off of the number of times DP and I both swoon and mmmm while scarfing it down.  There were a lot of those on this one my friends.

I ended up adding the baked polenta for a few reasons.  I wanted something to dip in the soup but there's always that moment when we're on our best behavior when one of us decides that bread is just too unhealthy.  I was still determined though so I thought about making some simple focaccia but alas, I was almost out of flour.  So I landed on polenta which is so easy to whip up.  Because I wanted it to have a crispy exterior to mimic bread I let it cool in the fridge then sliced it up and baked it on a cookie sheet at high heat.   It did the trick! Every time I make polenta, either in soft or baked form, I always remind myself not to overlook this gem for any other suitable application.  The only thing I'd do differently is cut it up smaller so it has more crispiness and then bake it a little longer and finish it off with a few minutes under the broiler.

The original recipe for the chili comes from Food 52 and the baked polenta recipe is an adaptation of this one.  Below are the recipes as I made them.

Tuxedo Chicken Chili
Serves 6
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 lb ground chorizo chicken (available at New Seasons Market)
  • 1 lb ground dark meat chicken (feel free to just sub 2 lbs of this and crank up the spices if you can't find chorizo chicken above)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 (15) ounces cans canellini beans
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (16) ounce can black beans
  • 1 (16) ounce package frozen corn
  • 1 (4.5) ounce can chopped green chiles
  • Garnishments - sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro, and/or baked polenta below 
  1. Chop the onion and garlic finely. Add to the oil in a large Dutch oven. Saute over medium high heat until soft and translucent. Do not brown. Remove the onions and garlic to a bowl and set aside. (If the onions brown and overcook, the final color of the chili will be muddy. It will still taste delicious, but won’t look as nice). Add all of the ground chicken to the pan and cook until browning slightly, breaking it up into small pieces.
  2. Sprinkle the oregano, cumin, chili powder, pepper and cinnamon over the chicken. Add the onions and garlic. Pour in two cups of chicken broth and one cup of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until the water has reduced by half and the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, drain and rinse two cans of white beans. Place the beans in a blender (don't be an idiot like me and think a food processor will work just as well, you'll end up with stock all over your counter) with the chicken broth and puree until smooth. Drain and rinse the remaining white beans and the black beans. Pour the pureed beans into the chicken mixture, stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add the remaining drained beans, corn, and green chiles and simmer until cooked through and thickened, about 30 minutes.
  4. Serve in big bowls topped with grated cheddar cheese, polenta squares and some cilantro if you've got it (I didn't).
Crispy Baked Polenta
  • 2 cups polenta (also known as corn grits)
  • 8 cups water
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, cheese, or anything else creamy you may have on hand
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot with 1 tbs kosher salt.  Gradually whisk in the polenta and whisk after all the polenta has been added to make sure no lumps form.  Turn heat down and simmer for 30 minutes until thick, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and any creamy item you may be adding to the mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour into 9x13 casserole pan and put in refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Remove the polenta from the refrigerator and slice the cooled polenta into long 1 inch strips. Slice the strips perpendicular to create 1 inch pieces. Place the polenta squares onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put into the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until they have turned golden and browned on the edges. Remove the baked polenta squares from oven and place on a cooling rack. The polenta squares can be served warm with a dipping sauce or at room temperature. To reheat the squares, place in oven at 200 degrees for several minutes. Can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
Only one picture of the end result was required because honestly, I chopped two things, sauteed some meat and dumped some other stuff in a pot.  SO simple!

I did also manage to take this video for you:

1 comment:

  1. This looks so tasty! I want to make a big batch and freeze some.