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Spicy Apple Chicken Chili

I once asked my Mom for her chili recipe. To my dismay, her response was, “I just put in whatever sounds good.” I eventually learned to replicate hers, a good classic chili with beans and ground beef and a lot of chili powder, but earlier this year I decided to get adventurous. This was the result.

This recipe needs to be spicy. I don’t give any specific amounts of cayenne, mainly because we serve it to our one-year-old, so I keep out the spice until after serving it up. But be generous; the spiciness makes a great counterpoint to the sweetness of the apple.

SPICY APPLE CHICKEN CHILI
Serves three to four. If you double the recipe, you’ll probably need to reduce the amount of water.

  • 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • cayenne pepper (to taste; will get spicier the longer you cook it)
  • 1 onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 habanero chili, de-seeded and diced (optional)
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 green apple, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil and add the chicken. Simmer until cooked through (usually anywhere from 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken). When done, remove chicken from the water and shred into bite-sized pieces with forks.

Combine the spices in a small bowl (omitting cayenne if you wish to let each person spice theirs to taste after serving).

In a large saucepan, heat a little olive oil. Add the onion, habanero (if using), and half of the spice mixture. Saute for several minutes. When the onion begins to turn translucent, add the beans, tomato (with juices), water, shredded chicken, and remaining spices. Simmer until heated through, then add the Worcestershire, Kitchen Bouquet, and chopped apple. Stir well.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 15 minutes, until apple begins to soften. Stir in brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Adjust seasonings and serve. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese.

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