I first found this recipe in Rachael Ray magazine a few years ago and now its one of my favorites. It's easy to serve to a crowd, it's healthy, taste great, and makes awesome leftovers. Only downside is it requires lots of chopping, but I love chopping, so for me there is no downside.
There are a few different versions of this recipe available online, but beware, some of them nix the beer! Shocking I know. Beer is not only my favorite beverage, but also one of my favorite ingredients to cook with, beer bread, beer cinnamon rolls, beer chicken... but that's another post. Here is the version of the recipe I use, with a few tips I have learned from making this several times.
Buffalo Chicken Chili
Original Recipe by Rachael Ray, modified by Amanda
1 tablespoon EVOO
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds ground chicken Turkey works just as well and you can't taste much of a difference
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped You can use canned jalapenos if you have those on hand
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
6 ounces of beer
1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup cayenne pepper hot sauce I use Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce and it's the right amount of spice for me. Remember you can always add more (leave the wing sauce out so diners can have more if they want) but you can't take it away. Once I accidentally used the Frank's Extra Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce and it about killed me (I'm a pansy).
Blue cheese (for garnish)
1 box jiffy corn bread mix and stuff to make it (1 egg, some milk)
1. Heat a medium dutch oven over high heat. Add olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, and butter and melt together.
2. Add the chicken and cook, breaking up the meat for 6 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, celery, onion, carrot and jalapeno. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and coriander and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add the beer and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Concentrate the flavor of the beer by reducing the mixture over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
5. Stir in the hot sauce and the tomato sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Bake up the cornbread. Follow the recipe on the box.
7. Serve with blue cheese crumbles on top and side of cornbread.
This is what French chefs call a mirepoix or "holy trinity". Carrot, onion, and celery form the basis not only for the Buffalo Chicken Chili, but for many French dishes. In New Orleans, the carrot is replaced with green bell pepper for yummy creole foods like gumbo.
Oh, and did I mention leftovers? How about Buffalo Chicken Nachos? Just top some chips with leftover chili, cheese, salsa, and bake. Top that with your favorite nacho fixings (jalapenos, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, sour cream) and enjoy.