Monday, May 16, 2011

Giada's White Bean and Chicken Chili

Last year, my mother gave me the new Giada At Home recipe book for Mother's Day, even though I was pregnant and technically not a mother yet. She said when I became a mother, it would be easy to forget to make time for myself, but I should still try to do the things I enjoy most (obviously, cooking being one of those things). Naturally, my mom was right. Since Tony was born four months ago, my days have been filled with feedings, diaper changes, visits to the pediatrician, singing lullabies and reading baby books. Not that I don't enjoy every minute I can with my son-he is my world, and I'll never forget how wonderful it is to see him smile at me when he wakes up from a (rare) nap, or the way he fits perfectly into my arms and snuggles with me while I'm carrying him around. That being said, I haven't had a lot of time to try new recipes or update my food blog. Adventurous cooking is now reserved for the weekends, when my husband is around to watch Tony and give me a break for a few hours. 

A few weekends ago, I pulled the Giada cookbook off the shelf and flipped through it, determined to try and new recipe that wasn't too time-consuming or difficult. Her white bean and chicken chili sounded both delicious and manageable, and once Will and I sat down to dinner a few hours later, I knew it was a winner. Unlike a lot of other Giada recipes I've tried in the past, this chili dish had the perfect amount of flavor. I especially loved the fennel seeds-I don't think I've ever used them in a recipe before! It was light, healthy, and perfect for a chilly spring evening. (I realize this particular dish may be better suited for winter, but we live right outside of Boston and we've had a very cold spring so far!). I will definitely be making this again.

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs ground chicken (I used ground chicken breast)
salt
2 T ground cumin
1 T fennel seeds
1 T dried oregano
2 tsp chili powder
3 T all-purpose flour
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch (about 1 lb) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
2. Add the ground chicken, 1 tsp salt, the cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
3. Stir the flour mixture into the chicken mixture.
4. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, and chicken broth. 



5. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Lower the heat and simmer for 55 to 60 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. 

6. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

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