BBQ Chicken Chili – it might be cold outside, but it’s nice and warm in here!

IMG_3828 2 edits
(Barbeque Chicken Chili – Recipe in post.  I would eat you on a bun, I would eat you just for fun ~ I would eat you in a bowl, BBQ is how I roll!)

I suppose I shouldn’t complain, seeing as the weather hasn’t been all that terrible this season, but I can’t help but run for the cozy blankets when the temperature drops. Everything becomes so much more difficult when the bitter cold strikes, especially when I’m still trying to get back into the flow of things after such an eventful December. Stepping out into the chilly air was pretty much the inspiration for this dish – a big, hearty, warm-you up style meal.

I threw myself into making it with a grocery list the length of my arm, deciding that rather than look at recipes I would make it up as I went along. The flavors are a combination of every BBQ and Chili recipe I’ve ever bothered to take notice of, and the results are just short of fabulous. The whole thing feels like something Guy Fieri would throw together, and as he would say – it’s off the hook!

IMG_3797 2
(Chicken searing… can you hear the sizzle?)

I used five different hot peppers, as well as a little ‘chili powder’, just to be sure I had all my bases covered. The finished dish had just the right level of kick for me, a little spicy but not so much as to detract from the flavor. To mitigate the heat, I removed the seeds from all the peppers except the New Mexican. Because the seeds and veins of peppers are where the bulk of the capsaicin (spicy) is, if you wanted to punch the heat up a notch feel free to leave any or all of them in.

The peppers I used, in order from mildest to hottest on the Scoville scale:

New Mexican
De Arbol

BBQ Chicken Chili
Serves 6-8

Dry rub:

2 TBSP brown sugar
1/2 TBSP granulated garlic
1/2 TBSP granulated onion
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
Several grinds fresh cracked black pepper

The chili:

2 lbs. chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
2 TBSP canola oil, divided
2 dried chipotle peppers
1 dried ancho chile
1 dried New Mexico chile
1 chile de arbol
1 poblano pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup apricot jam or preserves
1/4 cup honey
2 TBSP molasses
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, finely diced
3-4 large carrots, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bottle stout beer or dark porter (or use 3/4 cup bourbon, brandy, or scotch)
15 oz. crushed tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
1 cup ketchup
6 oz. tomato paste
1 TBSP ground coffee
15 oz. black beans
(optional) 1 cup corn, fresh, frozen, or canned

Method (stovetop):
In a heavy bottom skillet (cast iron if you have it) turn the heat on to medium and lay all of the peppers skin side down to toast. After 4-5 minutes, remove the dry peppers to the bowl of your food processor, and cover with 1/2 cup boiling water. Let rest five minutes. Once the skin of the poblano has begun to char, remove it from the heat and set aside – once cool enough, dice finely.
To the peppers in the food processor, add the chili powder, apricot preserves, honey, molasses, and vinegar. Blend until smooth, then set aside.

In the bottom of a very large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 TBSP canola oil over medium-high. Rub chicken breasts thoroughly with dry rub, being sure to coat both sides. Lay half of the chicken into the bottom of the pot, and let sear 3-4 minutes without touching it or moving it around. Flip, cook another few minutes, then remove from the pot and set aside.
Add the rest of the canola oil and the last of the chicken to the pot and repeat. Set aside.

Reduce the heat on the pot to medium and add the onion, carrot, and garlic. Stir and let cook 1-2 minutes to develop some color.
Deglaze the pan with the beer, then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, the roasted and diced poblano, the coffee, and the hot pepper puree from the food processor. Nestle the seared chicken breasts into the pot along with any juices they may have accumulated and let simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Kick back, relax, enjoy the second half of that beer…

Once the hour is up, remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Return the chicken to the pot, add the beans (and corn if using), and let simmer uncovered until the chili has reached your preferred level of sloppiness. I like mine nice and thick, so I went about 45 more minutes.
Taste and adjust seasoning (salt, pepper), adding more ketchup if it’s too hot, or more chili powder or a dash of cayenne if it’s too mild.

Method (slow-cooker):
As with the stovetop, rub and sear the chicken and blend the peppers.
Add all ingredients except the beans (and corn, if using) to your crock pot and set on low. Let cook 2-3 hours, then remove the chicken, shred with two forks, and return to the slow cooker. Add the beans (and corn) and let cook another 1-2 hours or until ready to serve.

Serve as is with sour cream, fresh cilantro, cheese, etc., OR:
Spoon as a sauce over spaghetti or rice, OR:
Use as a filling for enchiladas, OR:
Pile high on buns for BBQ chicken sliders, OR:
Burritos, OR:
… you get the idea.

IMG_3820 2 edits
(The Boyfriend enjoyed his as a burger – total yum!)

You know what this dish screams to me? Super bowl. I imagine it as a dip for tortilla chips, or pressed with cheese into tasty quesadillas, or as a topping for mini pizzas, or straight out of the pot with a giant spoon… wait, that’s me.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but whatever way you slice it this stuff is good! Just thinking about it is making me crave another bowl full.

Is my enthusiasm making you skeptical? Well, I guess you’ll just have to go make it for yourself to find out!

IMG_3903 2 crop

You know you want some.

, , ,

Still hungry? Try these:

4 Responses to BBQ Chicken Chili – it might be cold outside, but it’s nice and warm in here!

  1. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes January 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    The flavors sound amazing!
    Beautiful photos as always :-)

  2. Willow January 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Thank you!

  3. April @ Ape's Eats February 9, 2012 at 3:14 am #

    yumm, this looks delicious! perfect winter meal!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Read previous post:
Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans – plus, I’m a winner! (Liebster Award)

(Espresso beans coated in dark chocolate - chocolate/coffee lovers rejoice! Recipe in post)For those who love their chocolate and coffee,...