from heart to hands to table

Quick Chicken Chili

I’m all for slow food. I love making soups and stews and slow braised meats, letting them linger in the cozy heat of the oven or a big pot on the back of the stove. I love how they fill the house with savoury smells and how my patience is always rewarded when dinnertime finally comes around.

But even a labour of love is still laborious and sometimes you just need to get dinner on the table.

Time is a precious thing these days. Somehow each day seems to have less and less wiggle room, with endless projects, hobbies and work piling up. I hate to be bored so I should not complain, but when I step back and examine things the frenetic pace seems a bit absurd.

Thus, I’ll make no apologies here for the shortcuts or cheats in this recipe. It is a dependable recipe that will always give you a hearty, quick, savoury meal. It is endlessly adaptable, so tinker with it and add and subtract until it suits you and the people you are feeding. Make it vegetarian/vegan by simply omitting the chicken. It doesn’t need any accompaniment or extras, but if you’re feeling up to it, some cheese on toast or buttered basmati rice would do nicely.

Quick Chicken Chili

makes enough for 6 dinner sized portions for six hungry people

3 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, chopped into ½inch pieces

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced or grated

¼ C hot sauce of your choosing (I like a Louisiana style for this application)

¼ C barbecue sauce of your choosing

1 Tbsp mustard

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 C water

1 large can of diced tomatoes

1 regular can of black beans, rinsed

1 regular can of navy beans, rinsed

1 green bell pepper, seeded and choppped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

Place the onion, garlic and chicken in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add hot sauce and barbecue sauce, add the mustard and smoked paprika. Stir well to coat the chicken.

Heat a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken mixture and cook until the chicken is nearly fully cooked and the onions and sauce have caramelized slightly, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water and stir to de-glaze the bottom of the pot. reduce the heat to medium.

Add the canned tomatoes and beans. Add the peppers and mushrooms. Cook, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender-crisp. Serve as is or garnish with grated cheese or sour cream.

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