It was “throw stuff in the pot” time. I had leftover shredded chicken and I wanted a southwestern or chili kind of dish. One with beans and corn and tomatoes and lots of cumin. Definitely some sweet bell peppers and a touch of heat. Hm. Maybe I was aiming for chicken tortilla soup but I wanted it thicker, more like a chili.
I put a drizzle of oil into my large nonstick skillet and diced up a big onion and added it to the skillet. I wanted to get it browned up. You get a layer of almost caramelized flavor by sautéing it that you wouldn’t get by just throwing raw onions into the pot.
After 5 minutes or so, when the onions were translucent and on their way to almost being caramelized, I added two diced sweet bell peppers to also brown up a bit. I briefly wished I’d oven roasted them, but by turning the heat up to medium high under my skillet, I toasted the peppers a bit on the stove.
As they were browning I frisked my pantry and found all kinds of beans. I decided a can of black beans and a can of kidney beans sounded good. I drained and rinsed them before adding them to my pot.
My onions and peppers were done and I emptied the skillet into my pot. Using my still hot skillet again, I poured in 2 cups of corn and toasted it for a few minutes. It was lightly browned in places which gives it a whole different flavor.
I tossed a tablespoon of chopped green chilies into the pan to amp up their flavors as well. I sautéed them for 2-3 minutes and emptied my skillet into the pot again.
I had frozen some adobo chipotle peppers and pried a few out of the container and added them to my pot. I wanted a different kind of heat from them.
I added a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes to the pot and stirred it all well. I added about 3 cups of shredded chicken and stirred again.
For seasoning I added two tablespoons of chili powder, a tablespoon of cumin, a teaspoon of oregano and a teaspoon of garlic powder. I didn’t add any salt at this point, but I did add ½ teaspoon of black pepper. I also added a small can of tomato paste to get a more pronounced tomato taste in the chili. I stirred it all again and brought the pot to a bubbling boil. I put the lid on the pot, and turned the heat down to medium low. I set my timer for 30 minutes.
When my timer beeped I gave the chili/soup a stir. I taste tested and added a teaspoon of salt. I was surprised that it needed so much, but I’d used very low salt ingredients. Salt stirred in, I tasted the chili and it was excellent. I liked that it was just a bit sweet due to the browned onions and corn. The chicken gave it a good texture, some chew that made it feel like a full meal. The level of heat was perfect for me. You might add more chipotles in adobo sauce or jalapenos or just a shot of Sriracha sauce if you like more heat.
Shredded Chicken Chili
3 cups roasted, shredded chicken (I used breasts)
Drizzle of oil
1 large onion; diced
2 sweet bell peppers; diced
2 cups corn (I used frozen)
1 can black beans
1 can dark kidney beans
28 ounces diced tomatoes
14 ounces water
6 ounce can tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
Condiments: crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, diced onion, green onion
In a large skillet sauté the diced onion with a drizzle of oil over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. When the onion is translucent and browning, turn the heat to medium high and add the chopped pepper. Stir and fry for 4-5 minutes until the pieces are browned. Empty skillet into a soup pot.
In hot skillet, add another drizzle of oil and sauté the corn until it begins to brown in places. Add a tablespoon of chopped green chilies or jalapenos and fry another 2-3 minutes. Add skillet contents to the soup pot.
Drain and rinse black beans and kidney beans and add to pot. Add diced tomatoes, cumin, oregano and black pepper. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then cover with lid and cook on low for 30 minutes.
Stir and taste test after 30 minutes. Add salt and more seasonings if desired.