Dinner is on the table in half an hour when you make a quick and easy chicken chili using shortcuts: canned beans, salad spinach in a bag, boxed chicken broth and rotisserie chicken.
As for amounts, eyeball what your family likes and add or decrease accordingly. For heat, choose hot pepper flakes, a good pinch of cayenne or a small can of chopped green chilies. You could grill, skin and chop a fresh chili, too. Last fall, I cooked off a dozen Hatch chilies and froze them for a recipe such as this, and just one should lend enough heat. With a bag of already washed salad spinach, you can grab as much as you want for the chili, and save the rest for tomorrow’s salad.
The finished dish is more like a soup than a stand-a-spoon-in-it chili. Thicken the chili by mashing some of the beans before adding them to the pot. Or mix a cornstarch/cool-broth slurry and stir it into the finished dish to thicken it.
Garnishes are like pearl earrings; You need them to finish off your look or, in this case, the dish. Ergo, top the chili with cilantro leaves and scallion rings with lime wedges on the side. Serve it with chips and guac or warm cornbread. And don’t forget to pour beer.
Beans n Greens n Chicken Chili
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 small to medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups or more rotisserie-chicken meat, shredded
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 can cannellini beans, with juice
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
Pinch hot pepper flakes or to taste
3 cups (plus ⅓ cup) chicken broth, canned or homemade
2 handfuls (½ of 5-ounce bag) fresh spinach leaves
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch, optional
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Scallions, cut into rings, for garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish
Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan and swirl to coat.
Add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes.
Add chicken, cumin, coriander and oregano and cook, stirring until mixed.
Add 1 can beans with juice, hot pepper flakes, canned chilies and 3 cups chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes; stir in the spinach leaves and swirl until they wilt. Check seasoning.
To thicken, mix cornstarch with ⅓ cup broth, stir into the chili and cook until the broth thickens and becomes clear, about 2 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro, scallions and lime wedges.
Makes 4 servings.
— Adapted from Leite’s Culinaria