Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

Many of you asked for our recipe for this White Chicken Chili that we’ve been serving up to our pro-sports team. It’s yummy and hearty and a nice change of pace from our usual standby favorite. Give it a try and let us know what you think!!


White Chicken Chili

makes about 8 servings

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast

olive oil, as needed

salt and pepper

1  cup diced onion

2 poblano chilies, diced small

2 tbl minced garlic

1 jalapeno, diced small

2 tbl cumin

1 tbl ground corriander

4 tbl flour

4 cups chicken stock

2 15-oz cans white beans

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

chopped cilantro, for garnish

grated jack or cheddar cheese, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet.

Roast for 20 minutes. Remove and let rest until cool enough to handle. Chop or shred into small pieces. Set aside.

In a large soup pot, saute the onions, poblanos, garlic and jalapeno in a drizzle of olive oil. Cook over medium heat until tender.

Add the cumin and coriander and a couple pinches of slat and pepper. Add the flour and cook for one minutes. Add the stock and stir.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the beans, corn and chicken. Cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.

Serve warm topped with fresh cilantro and cheese.



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First, a confession: chili is one of my all-time favorite foods. For me, it’s all the spices and texture and rich flavor I love in one bowl. Better yet, it’s one of those modern “mother” recipes from which you can make a million different versions. Some of you have watched us make this is one of our cooking classes. But I thought it high-time I share my basic chili recipe broken down so you can see how easy and versatile it really is. Along the way, I’ll share some of my secrets and tips to what I humbly consider the “Best Ever Chili.”


makes about 2 1/2 quarts

FIRST – the vegetables

To me, chili is not chili unless you have some actual fresh chilies as the base. However, I know many people do like the heat of chilies or the tang of peppers, so you certainly can leave them out. But you absolutely must have plenty of onion and garlic. If you’re making this into a vegetarian chili OR just want to get a few more servings of vegetables in your day, you can add a cup of finely diced carrots or 2 cups of chopped mushrooms to this list.

2 cups diced onion

1 tbl chopped garlic

1 cup diced red or yellow bell pepper (or poblano chili)

1 finely diced jalapeno or Fresno chili (if you like it hot, add more chili or 1-2 canned chipotle chilies)

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add a small drizzle of olive oil and all of the vegetables. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until all of the vegetables are beginning to soften.

SECOND – the meat and spices

I have my favorite combination of four spices I always use for chili — this is one area I don’t mess with. And when it comes to spices, I love to get mine at Penzy‘s — they have a fantastic selection and everything is ground recently so the dried spices are so flavorful. However, when it comes to the meat, this is where you can really start to make this chili your own. If I’m in the mood for something rich and meaty, I like to use ground buffalo – it tastes like beef but it’s leaner and a better “eco” choice. If I want something lighter, I’ll use ground white-meat turkey or chicken. And if I’m having a vegetarian day, I’ll skip the meat and add more beans in the next step (OR add some crumbled tempeh in this step for some meat-like texture.). The key to this step of the recipe is to allow the meat to brown and then add all the spices and cook for another 5-10 minutes so the spices brown a bit and their flavor really begins to release.

2 lbs ground meat (or 8 oz crumbled tempeh)

1/4 cup ancho chili powder

2 tbl ground cumin

1 tbl ground coriander

1 tbl smoked Spanish paprika

2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

Add the ground meat or tempeh to the vegetables and cook for about 15 minutes, breaking it apart as it cooks, until it’s nicely browned.

Add the spices, stir and cook for another 5-10 minuets until the spices are very fragrant.

THIRD – the “bulk” ingredients (and a secret ingredient)

Next up are all the ingredients the create the real bulk of the chili. Canned tomatoes are a must, but here, again, you have choices. My favorite are San Marzano whole plum tomatoes. They are tart and sweet and perfect. I like using whole tomatoes and just squeezing them apart with my hands on their way into the pot. Maybe because that’s the way I think my grandmother would have done it. Or maybe because I like to get messy with my food. Actually, it’s at least in part because I like the ragged texture of the tomatoes when treated that way. Your other options are to add diced tomatoes (if you like big chunks of tomatoes in your chili) or crushed tomatoes (if you want a more “saucy” chili). And then there are the beans. This is where chili purists will look down their nose and insist that real chili never has beans. But I’ve never been a purist, especially when it comes to cooking and making food your own. So my rule of thumb is to add at least two kinds of beans….possibly 3-4 different kinds if this is a vegetarian chili. The more color (and the more fiber!), the better. Lastly, I make one final addition that is my “secret” weapon: cornmeal. I add it at the end to thicken the liquid slightly and create a thick and hearty consistency.

1 15-oz can beans (any kind — my favorite are black and kidney)

1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, with their juices (OR diced OR crushed tomatoes)

4 cups beef stock (OR chicken OR vegetarian OR water)

1/4 cup cornmeal

Rinse the beans very well and drain. Then add them to the pot. Add the whole tomatoes to the pot, squeezing and crushing them as you go (OR you can use a more civilized approach and chop them with a large knife or pulse them in a food processor). Add the stock and stir to combine. There should be about 1-inch of liquid above all of the solids — add water as needed to achieve this. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Slowly sprinkle in the cornmeal, stir and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat, taste, and season with salt as needed.

FOURTH – the garnish

Perhaps  I love  chili the most for all it’s potential garnishes. I’m always the one adding the extra sauces and salsas to my plate when given the chance and chili is no exception. While all of these garnishes are optional, I really must insist on, at the very least, a dollop of yogurt or sour cream (I use Greek yogurt these days exclusively in place of sour cream, but either works) and some chopped cilantro.

sour cream OR Greek yogurt, for garnish

chopped cilantro, for garnish

chopped tomato, for garnish

chopped green or red onion, for garnish

shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish

Fill bowls with steaming chili and top with any combination of the above garnishes. Enjoy!!

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Every Jewish family has their version of matzo ball soup. Probably something that was passed down from a grandmother. Just like every Italian family has their version of “gravy” (red sauce for any non-Italians out there) and every Mexican family has their version of pasole. But with Passover coming we were inspired to play around with a basic matzo ball soup recipe and see if we could improve it. We’ve had many a bland, lack-luster matzo ball soup and knew we could do better. The goals were (#1) a light ball that still had that crackery matzo taste, and (#2) a “quick” stock that didn’t take all day. We hit the jack pot on both counts.

For the stock we thought we knew we couldn’t just use store-bought — it just doesn’t have the nuance of a homemade stock. But we thought we could use the store-bought as a base and add flavor by cooking it with some chicken thighs. The result was a full-flavored broth specked with just enough chicken fat to make it feel homemade. Cooked with a little carrot, celery and parsley and we had one fine quick soup base.

For the balls we used Ina Garten’s suggestion of putting some chicken fat into the balls — genius! This is probably something Jewish grandmas have been doing forever but it’s new to us. And after trying everything from baking soda to seltzer water, we found that simply separating the eggs and beating the whites made for the best texture — light enough to float but dense enough to still have some flavor.

After perfecting this recipe, we did it in on of our private cooking parties as part of an “Updated Passover” menu and it was a huge hit!!

Here’s what we did:


serves about 6 people (makes 14 balls)

for the soup:

2 chicken thighs (skin on!)

8 cups chicken stock (low-sodium, organic if possible)

2 cups small diced carrots

1 cup small diced celery

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley stems

for the balls:

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup chicken stock

3 tbl rendered chicken fat (melted and cooled slightly)

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup matzo meal

4 egg whites

Place the chicken thighs in a cold pan, skin-side down, over medium heat. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes until the fat has rendered and browned. Remove from the pan, leaving the fat behind. Combine the stock and browned thighs in a soup pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 30 minutes. Remove the thighs. Add the carrots, celery and parsley stems. Cook for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, chicken stock, chicken fat (from the pan with the thighs), parsley and salt. Stir in the matzo meal. In another bowl, whisk the whites until they form stiff peaks. Add half of the whites into the matzo mixture and stir (the mixture will be quite stiff). Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Use a 1/4-cup scoop to form the balls and drop gently into the water — adjust the heat so the water is barely simmering and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the balls with a slotted spoon and place into the soup. Heat gently for 15 minutes before serving.

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The weather is cold, it’s getting dark in the late afternoon. That means Winter is here and soup season has officially begun. A couple nights ago I had a hankering for a big, steamy bowl of comfort and got to thinking about combining two of my Mexican favorites: Tortilla Soup and Pasole.


What I love about Tortilla Soup is the smokey broth and all those great garnishes — the crunchy tortilla chips, the cool sour cream, the flavors of the cilantro and radish. Then there’s Pasole, that rich and smokey pork stew with hominy. Hominy is one of those under-used items on the canned vegetable aisle that is so delicious and full of chewy corn flavor. So I decided to mix my favorite elements of the two together to make one delicious pot of soup. Turned out amazing! This one is a keeper. Here’s what I did:



Chicken Tortilla Pasole Soup

serves about 6

1 white onion, diced

1 poblano chili, seeded and diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 stalked celery, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ancho chili powder

1 tbl dried oregano

6 cups chicken broth

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 28-oz can hominy, rinsed very well

juice of 2 limes

sour cream, chopped cilantro and chopped radish for garnish

tortilla chips for garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onions, poblano, garlic and celery and sautee until very soft. Add the cumin, chili powder and oregano and cook for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the chicken breast and reduce heat to a simmer (NOTE: it’s important to reduce the heat so that the chicken is NOT boiling — it should be just barely simmering so the chicken poaches and doesn’t dry out). Cook for 10 minutes and remove the chicken from the pot.

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before chopping into small pieces and adding back into the pot. Add the hominy and let cook for 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Add the lime juice and remove from the heat.

To serve, top with a dollop of sour cream, a crumbled handful of tortilla chips and some cilantro and radishes.

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