January in the kitchen – Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

January in the kitchen – Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

This is the second of three chili dishes, and the only one made in a slow cooker. I used Good Mother Stallard beans, but you could use dry tepary or navy beans. You need to start by soaking the beans the night before.

Heirloom dried beans

Heirloom Good Mother Stallard Beans

  • 1 pound of dried tepary, navy or other bean of choice
  • 10 boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 slices of thick bacon, chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 dried whole pasilla peppers
  • 4 cups of chicken stock such as Magic Mineral with Chicken
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 Anaheim or poblano peppers, seeded, ribs removed and cut into 1/3 inch dice
  • 1 small Serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of mild chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 cups of peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (1 inch)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Rinse the beans; pick them over to remove any stones. Place in a large pot and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Soak the beans overnight.
  2. The next day, drain and rinse the beans again. Cover with cold water, add the whole dried pasilla peppers to the water and bring to a boil and cook until the beans are soft but still retain some bite. Depending on your bean type this will take an hour or more. Cool in the cooking water, removing and discarding the dried pepper.
  3. Heat a skillet and fry the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels.
  4. In the bacon fat remaining in the skillet, sauté the chopped onions on medium heat until softened (about 10 minutes), add the garlic and fresh peppers. Continue to cook on low for another 5. Sprinkle with paprika, chili powder and cocoa, stir well then add the tomato paste and honey and stir again. Add one cup of the chicken stock to the skillet and stir up any crusty bits in the pan.
  5. Drain the beans over a bowl so you can keep the cooking water.
  6. Add the chopped chicken to the slow cooker, cover with the onion and spice mixture, drained beans, bacon, cubed sweet potatoes, and remaining 3 cups of chicken stock. Stir well.
  7. The liquid level should just cover the beans and chicken. Add some bean cooking liquid if needed.
Into the Slow Cooker

Into the Slow Cooker

  1. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  2. Serve garnished with shredded cheese, yogurt or sour cream, finely chopped red onion, and cilantro.
Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

December in the kitchen – Coconut crusted chicken and persimmon caprese

December in the kitchen – Coconut crusted chicken and persimmon caprese

I love a crisp coating on chicken, but would like to avoid the refined carbohydrates and fat of fried chicken. I’ve been searching for something that gives chicken that same satisfying crunch in a baked version. Paleo circles use almond meal to coat chicken. I tried it and found it to be too heavy, not crisp enough, and fairly high in calories (although delicious).

Then I had an idea; what about coconut meal? Maybe coconut meal (which has more texture than coconut flour) would be a healthy way to add coconut flavor to the chicken, eliminate gluten, and increase crispness. As an added benefit, it is both high in fiber and low in saturated fat. And, coconut fried shrimp have a lovely crunch (although there is still the problem of frying), so crunch is possible.

Thus was born Coconut Crusted Chicken!

With the chicken I wanted to serve something festive. There were some Fuyu persimmons, picked up at a farm stand the week before, in a bowl on the counter. I made a simple caprese salad by replacing the usual tomatoes with persimmons, garnishing with pomegranate seeds and chopped almonds. As a finishing touch I drizzled an aged balsamic vinegar over the whole.

coconut crusted chicken

Coconut crusted chicken

Coconut Crusted Chicken

  • 6 -8 bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed to remove any excess skin and fat (you can use other cuts, adjust the cooking time)
  • 1 cup of coconut meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place racks in a roasting or baking pan large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer.
  3. Place the coconut meal, salt, and cumin in a shallow bowl or plate and mix.
  4. Roll the chicken in the coating, patting it on to cover all sides
  5. Place the chicken, skin side up, on the racks.
  6. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour until juices run clear and chicken is crisp.
persimmon salad with mozzarella

Persimmon caprese

Persimmon Caprese Salad

  • 4 fuyu persimmons, sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ¼ cup of pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup of chopped roast almonds
  • Aged balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Alternate the persimmon and mozzarella slices on a platter.
  2. Generously salt and pepper.
  3. Garnish with the almonds and pomegranate seeds.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
persimmon salad

Persimmon caprese

I added a salad of arugula for a touch of green and the sharpness of the leaves.

Coconut crusted chicken with persimmon caprese

Coconut crusted chicken with persimmon caprese

It worked!

I’m taking this to the party at Friday Favorites sponsored by the Blog The Diary of a Real Housewife, and Real Food Fridays sponsored by Lydia’s Flexitarian Kitchen. Come join us at the last parties of 2014. Happy Holidays!