It's Chili Weather!

It’s cold in Minnesota.  I mean really cold.  The high temperature here on Monday was something like -14 F and that was without wind chills!  The first breath you took if you ventured outside was a shock to the lungs for sure.   When it’s cold I crave hot, filling, comfort foods like chili.

I am a huge fan of the Noble Pig blog.  Some of Cathy’s recipes have become standards in our house; halibut tacos, hoisin pork tenderloin, pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon syrup and butterscotch bananas with vanilla ice cream to name just a few.  So when I saw this recipe for slow cooker green chicken chili I just had to try it.

We are lucky enough to live very close to a Mexican food market, El Burrito Mercado so I was easily able to find all the ingredients for this chili which included fresh (not canned) tomatillo and Anaheim peppers, as well as jalapenos which you can get just about anywhere.

This is two-day chili.  You start by soaking Great Northern Beans overnight.  I’d read a lot of the comments about this chili and many folks had trouble with the beans being cooked enough.  I gave them an extra few hours of soaking and followed the instructions not to stir the chili hoping to not have beans with “bite.”

There is a lot of chopping for this chili too, four cups of tomatillos, eight Anaheim peppers and six jalapeno peppers in addition to an onion and garlic!  The directions say to seed the peppers.  My hubby and I like a little heat so I left at least half, maybe a little better, of the seeds in.  Neither tomatillos or Anaheim peppers are hot so it was really just the jalapeno seeds that added heat.

The beans go in the bottom of the crock pot so they cook.  They are topped with the peppers, onions, garlic, seasonings and some chicken broth.  This gets to cook for four hours before the chicken is added with a little lime juice.

I started it in the morning and we weren’t eating until dinner time so I left it on low for most of the day.  About an hour and a half before it was time to put the chicken in I turned it up to high (wanting to make sure the beans got done).  I added the chicken and a little masa harina (finely ground corn meal) and while the chili was cooking the last half hour I made cornbread muffins.  Famous Dave’s muffins of course, they are the BEST!

The chili looked great!

But how did it taste?  Well, I’ll admit I was a little disappointed.  I wanted more flavor and more heat.  Don’t get me wrong it is good chili, but not as good as I had hoped.  I would add more seasoning (cumin and cayenne) and more jalapenos.  I might also roast some of the peppers beforehand and throw them in at the end so they don’t overcook, just to give the chili more depth of flavor.  And finally, my beans still had “bite” even after making sure they soaked and didn’t move from the bottom of the crock pot.  Probably not going in the "keeper" pile but a good chili nonetheless.

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