17 September, 2012

Sage Chicken Chili with Lentils and Garden Vegetables

Here's a nice fall meal for you!
My parents recently gave me an organic homegrown squash that was almost as big as me.. maybe a mild exaggeration.. but look:
They also gave me homegrown peppers and tomatoes, and with this beautiful fall weather and football season starting, OF COURSE I'M GOING TO MAKE CHILI!

This is a healthier chili- made with chicken, protein packing lentils, and lots of vegetables.  It's mildly spicy, though of course you can adjust it to your own tastes.  If you want less spicy, skip the jalapeno and reduce the chili powder to a teaspoon or none at all. For more spicy, increase chili powder to 2 tbsp, and if you really want it hot add another jalapeno!

This is a one-pot meal- no rice required!  The lentils are way healthier than rice, and make the chili a bit more hearty and filling.  Afraid of lentils?  Don't be- they really don't taste like much- they soak up the flavor of the chili, and The Boyfriend didn't even know they were in there.  He still doesn't.   :)  

This chili would make for a perfect vegetarian chili too- just skip the chicken, increase the lentils, and use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock.  The recipe is very forgiving- add and subtract vegetables as you desire.

As with any chili, this can be made in the crockpot or on the stovetop. I wrote down both methods for you. 

Serve with a dollop of sour cream if you like, maybe a Gorgonzola Sage Popover, and voila! Dinner is served. 

Sage Chicken Chili with Lentils and Garden Vegetables

Serves 10 easily, freeze leftovers for a quick meal!
You will need:

About 2 lbs cooked chicken (I used meat from 3 breasts and 3 thighs)
1 package (about 1 lb) Ground Chicken

2 onions, sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 green peppers
2 red peppers
1 jalapeno
1 cup diced squash
2 big tomatoes
4 carrots, cut in 1/2 inch slices
2 cups corn, sliced off cob or frozen
15 sage leaves

2 1/2 cups chicken stock
(2) 15.5 ounce cans of black beans, drained
6 oz can tomato paste
28 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups dried lentils

2 Hour stovetop preparation:

1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat a few drizzles of olive oil.  Once hot, add the sliced onions and cook down, stirring frequently, until onions start to soften.  Add the ground chicken.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink and cooked through.

2. Add all of the other ingredients to the pot EXCEPT THE LENTILS AND SQUASH. 

3. Cover and cook for an hour, stirring occasionally (every 15 minutes or so).

4. Add the lentils and squash. Cover pot again and cook for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until lentils are no longer hard.  

Crockpot preparation:

1. Follow step 1 of stovetop preparation, and then throw ALL ingredients in crockpot.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

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