The weather was almost fall-like there for a minute! Visions of sweater dresses and riding boots have been dancing in my head as I fall asleep in 60 degree moderation instead of 80 degree heat.
In addition to dreams of fall fashion, I have been dreaming of some hearty gut-warming dishes. Thus, I decided to try a dish my mother made for me when I lived at home: Chicken Cashew Chili.
This one takes a bit of directing, although its basically a throw everything in the pot and let it stew kind of recipe in the end. I am going to link to the recipe as well as write it out because it is a bit long and you might not want to have to keep consulting this blog post. This is taken from a combo of my mother’s directives and Epicurious’s advice.
2 dried ancho chilies
(If you can’t find ancho chilies use one roasted and peeled red bell pepper and 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes in your puree).
1/4 cup cashews, raw or roasted
1 cup chicken broth
2 whole chicken legs plus 1/2 chicken breast (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped coarse
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander sprigs
a 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup cashews, raw or roasted
1/2 ounce fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate
1 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
If you use ancho chilies then heat a small pan over medium heat until hot and toast chilies, 1 at a time, pressing down with tongs, a few seconds on each side to make more pliable. Wearing rubber gloves, seed and devein chilies. Throw them in a blender with your broth and the first 1/4 cup of cashews and blend like crazy.
Remove excess fat from chicken and pat chicken dry. The recipe calls for thighs and legs but in the reality of my cooking this I just used breast meat and it turned out exactly the same and was much easier.
In a large heavy saucepan heat oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking and then throw in your onion and garlic and stir until softened. Add cumin, chili powder, and salt and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Then, add chicken and stir to coat with onion mixture. Stir in the chili purée, 2 tablespoons coriander, and tomatoes with juice and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove pan from heat and transfer chicken to a bowl. With 2 forks shred meat, discard bones and skin (so much easier if you are using boneless skinless breasts). Return chicken to pot and stir in cashews, remaining tablespoon coriander, chocolate, and beans. Cook chili over moderate heat, stirring, until heated through and chocolate is melted. The chocolate may sound crazy but it brings out all the other flavors wonderfully.
That is the end result. It is sort of sweet and very different from a regular chili with the hints of cilantro (coriander) and lots of cumin. It is very gut-warming and satisfying. I made it with a friend, who also made this amazing key lime pie that I ate for breakfast the next morning it was so delicious, and watched the first football game of the year. It definitely felt like autumn was knocking on the door.
Try this recipe out. Believe me you will not regret making something a little different and daring. This always comes out scrumptious.