Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coconut Chicken Chili

This recipe has generated quite a bit of curiosity from my friends who keep up with the meal plan. All week long I've had people asking me, "Did you make that yet? How was it?" The buzz is understandable. I mean, Coconut Chicken Chili? Hmmm. I saw this recipe at Noble Pig, a blog that I just love for her flavorful recipes and beautiful photography. Back in December I made THIS Chicken Poblano Recipe from Noble Pig. As I type this I have 3 more recipes from this blog that I've bookmarked to try. It's good stuff! This Coconut Chicken Chili called to me from my laptop screen when I saw the pictures. I loved that it put a Thai spin on chili. I love my Thai food! All of the spices combined with the garlic, basil, and coconut milk smelled amazing as this simmered on the stove.

But here's the deal...after tasting this, I felt that it needed more intensity. Not like spicy intensity, it was spicy enough. It just needed something more. I added a little more salt. Then I added 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar. I like my traditional chili with just a hint of sweet to play against the spice and I thought that maybe that's what this was lacking. Not it. The flavor reminded me a little of the Peanut Dipping Sauce that I made to go along with THESE Thai Meatballs,probably because they shared two ingredients in common: the peanut butter and the coconut milk. What that peanut sauce (loved this peanut sauce) had that this chili didn't was red curry paste and fish sauce. I fell asleep last night thinking that when I re-heated the chili today, I would stir in a little of each and see if this chili finally provided the "Wow!" factor that I had anticipated when I chose this recipe.

Here's what really happened...late this morning my husband called from work to tell me how amazing the chili tastes when re-heated. He took it with him for lunch. So much for stirring in extra spices. He reported that it was SO much better the next day and that you could "really taste all of the flavors and spices." Wow. Last night he was as unimpressed as I was. Not that this was horrible the first time around. It was pretty good. Just not "Wow!" Apparently, and maybe not surprisingly, it needs to sit overnight to achieve "Wow!" status. Traditional chili is the same, right? Always better the second day? I didn't get to taste it today, so I can't vouch for this recipe, but because it has my husband's vote of approval, plus the curiosity of my friends, I'll go ahead and post the recipe.

To begin, chop 12 oz. of chicken breast into little pieces. Heat a tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Add the chicken, garlic, onion, chili powder, ginger, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper. Cook just until the chicken is no longer pink.

Stir in a tablespoon of flour and cook for a minute longer.

Now add a cup of water, a can of coconut milk (I used light), and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Bring to a boil. It will thicken slightly.

Now stir in shredded carrot, cannellini beans, celery, green onion, and chopped basil. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. I also added in 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar here.

Serve it over jasmine rice and garnish with chopped peanut and more basil.

Or...put it in your fridge overnight, then re-heat and serve the next day. Apparently, this is the way to go!

Coconut Chicken Chili from Noble Pig
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens and then adapted again by me

12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed (smaller pieces are best)
1 large onion, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 medium carrots, shredded with a box grater on the biggest holes
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Garnish with fresh basil, peanuts and sliced pickled jalapenos, optional
Serve over hot cooked jasmine rice

In a large saucepan cook chicken, onion, garlic,chili powder, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and the cayenne pepper in hot oil over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. (Do not over cook the chicken here, you just don't want to see pink.) Stir in flour and cook 1 minute more. Stir in coconut milk, peanut butter and 1 cup water. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally.

Stir in beans, carrots, celery, green onion, garlic and chopped basil. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Serve with rice. Top with basil leaves.

To download or print this recipe click here!


Julie said...

That is an unusual combo...sounds great!

Kim said...

So many recipes taste better the next day, which makes this a great make ahead recipe!

I like all the Thai flavors.

theUngourmet said...

My husband and I love this combination of flavors! I think I'll try this one out on him! It looks so scrumptious!

Reeni said...

This certainly sounds delicious! I found that a lot of things taste better the next day - even some baked goods. Glad it turned out for the best.

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