I ate chili for the first time at the age of 20 years old. Wendy’s was the chef, and my college roommate insisted it was the best. Having been scared of the meat & bean concoction up until that point in my life, I had decided to trust her. Good thing I did because chili is now one of my go-to meals for group gatherings! I found a recipe on Epicurious that same fall, and it became the inspiration for today’s masterpiece of a recipe. It has been tested, updated, and tried again for years by many of my friends. And I think we finally got it perfect about two years ago. But if you find a tweak, let me know!
- 1 large Onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons EVOO
- 4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
- 3 Chicken Breasts, baked & shredded
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Chili Powder
- 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 28-ounce can Crushed Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 1 bottle of Beer (chicken broth can be a substitute)
- 3 Bell Peppers, diced (red, yellow & orange)
- 1 bottle Heinz Chili sauce
- 3 15-ounce cans of different Beans, such as kidney, pinto & red beans, drained
- Generous amounts of SMOKED Tabasco (key ingredient!)
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Preheat the oven to 350. Bake 3 skinless/boneless chicken breasts in a shallow glass pan, with 1/2 inch of water and chili spices, for 40 minutes. When the chicken is done, shred with two forks. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions & garlic and sauté until almost golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, cayenne, S&P, and Smoked Tabasco – adjust spices as needed. Mix in tomatoes, beer, bell peppers and chili sauce. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add shredded chicken and beans. Simmer until beans are heated through and vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Mix in a handful of cheddar cheese at the end. You can also top individual servings. Get even more creative and serve in a bread bowl!
(note: I don’t really measure anything…just eyeball and taste! Also, any beer would work, but I use Michelob Ultra)