Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chicken "Chili" with Hominy and Buttery Cornbread

I'm not sure whether or not I can legitimately call this a chili recipe, since it has no beans in it and no chili powder, but that's what it reminds me of so that is what I am going to call it.  Alex and I both have head colds right now and in my congested stupor all I could think of was chicken soup - chicken chili in particular.  But I didn't like any of the chili recipes I kept coming across, nor did I have any canellini or navy beans that I had soaked overnight to make a chicken chili.  Enter plan B.  I figure soup is one of the best vehicles for using up random produce or canned goods, and I always have a ton of random produce and canned goods.  So I climbed up on the counter to see what was in my cabinets (I admit, the top shelf is a pipe dream for me if I'm standing on the ground - the only way for me to see what is up there is to climb up on the counter like a little kid) and started pulling everything down I thought I could work with.  That included a large can of white hominy, a can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, chicken stock, and various spices.  Then in the fridge I had two bone-in skin-on chicken breast halves, garlic, scallions, cilantro, limes, and a bag of frozen yellow sweet corn. Perfect!

The chicken chili was great - perfect since it is once again freezing outside.  It definitely makes the list as one of my favorite soups I have made.  And with the addition of several teaspoons of Tabasco, it did a great job of temporarily clearing my sinuses up.  Unlike a lot of chilis, it wasn't overly heavy (which is something I usually attribute to the surplus of beans used in most chili recipes).  Instead, with the addition of corn, hominy, cilantro, lime and tomatoes, the chili was very fresh.  While San Marzano tomatoes aren't the tomatoes usually used in chili recipes, their slight sweetness went very well in this soup.  Maybe next time I will try one of the cans of tomatoes with chilis, etc. already mixed in, but then again, probably not.  I really liked the San Marzano tomatoes in here.

Nothing appeals to me more with a bowl of chili than a nice piece of cornbread.  And as far as cornbread goes, it has to be moist and a little on the sweet side.  Biting into a dried out hunk of cornbread is terribly sad.  Our last few experiments with cornbread haven't been the best, but I knew we were on the right track.  I wanted to try to replicate the cornbread they serve at Momofuku Milk Bar, only cornbread with white cheddar, caramelized onions and apples didn't quite seem appropriate with chicken chili.  Oh well, there's always next time.

Recipes after the jump!

Chicken Chili with Hominy
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts 
2 tbsp evoo, plus 1 tbsp separated
2 bunches of scallions, chopped
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 tsp Tabasco 
1 28-oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 28-oz can white hominy
1 cup frozen yellow sweet corn 
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet, skin side up.  Drizzle with 1 tbsp evoo, s&p.  Roast chicken until fully cooked, about 30 minutes.  Allow to cool until it can be handled, then shred with a fork.  Drizzle 2 tbsp evoo in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add scallions, cumin and paprika.  Saute until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  With an immersion blender, roughly puree the tomatoes and the hominy.  Add broth, Tabasco, hominy, tomatoes, corn.  Raise heat to high and bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat, add chicken, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.  Season soup to taste with s&p.  Add cilantro, stir to mix and remove from heat.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Squeeze in fresh lime juice to taste.  Serve immediately.

Buttery Cornbread
1 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
9 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 cup frozen yellow sweet corn

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter an 8x8 inch metal brownie pan.  Mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Add buttermilk, melted butter and eggs.  Mix to combine with a wooden spoon.  Allow mixture to stand 20 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  

Bake bread until brown around the edges, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Allow cornbread to rest 5 minutes to cool.

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