Friday, February 11, 2011

Chicken Bacon Chili

Cheap Eat Challenge: Join or watch us as our family of 6 learns to eat on $6/day.

How do people take pictures of chili? I mean, it just doesn't pose well. So much easier to photograph cookies. But man cannot live on cookies alone, and despite it's homely-hood, this chili is my favorite in the world universe. At least so far.

It originally came about as all good and cheap soups/chili's do--that is by way of throwing random leftovers into a pot with a can of beans. I liked it so well that I re-created it and wrote down the recipe so that I could actually eat it again.

It uses chicken, bacon, and white beans, so it can be a good gateway chili if there is such a thing. (Kip does not believe there is such a thing, but he did have a small portion anyway to be a good example for the kids, and I appreciated it greatly.)

And like all soups/chili's it is infinitely adaptable. Tonight I added a couple tablespoons of corn that were hanging around in the fridge and 1 leaf of kale just to keep it real around here and to ensure that no kids in my family would touch it so there'd be more leftovers for me. (You'd add the chopped kale when the onion is almost ready and let it cook for about 2 minutes till it's wilty.)

I think it would do well with any number of herbs, but I love love love it with cilantro. I didn't use it tonight because the old herb garden is frozen, but it's really good. It'd also probably be good with a bit of salsa or bell pepper (warning: haven't tried it, but it sounds good to me) in with the tomato, but I'd already added kale, and--as chili--it contained beans, so I was already pushing my luck with Kip and just kept it simple.

We served it with cornbread on the side. The cornbread was really good sort of crumbled into the chili and it occurred to me that the chili would be so good with some sort of cornbread crouton--if, you know, you're the type that likes to make simple, down home meals difficult and/or gourmet (come on, you know who you are).

Chicken Bacon Chili
Serves 2 heartily, 4 side dishily
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cost: $1.65
(chicken: .40, bacon: .30, beans: .20, tomatoes: .75)

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice (or about 2 C fresh diced tomatoes)
1 14 oz. can Great Northern white beans with a little juice (or 2 C white beans that you've rehydrated)
3 strips bacon
1/3-1/2 C shredded chicken (I used leftover from freezer--to make from scratch, you're looking at a just a bit of meat--like a leg or 1/4-1/2 of a breast, cubed)
2 dashes onion powder (or 1/4 C onion--Kip doesn't like onion and I was already so pushing my luck, so I stuck with powder)
dash chili powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
small handful fresh cilantro, parsley, chives or green onion, optional

Options to drive your family bonkers: 1 C chopped kale, 1/2 C chopped bell pepper, 1/4 C salsa, 1/2 C cooked macaroni--or use 1/4 C and be sure to let it simmer long enough to soften. You'd add the vegetables into the oil with or just after the onion, and the macaroni with the wet ingredients.

In sauce pan or Dutch oven, cook bacon. Remove from pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Crumble when cool enough.

In bacon grease, cook chicken (if using already cooked chicken leftovers, throw them in anyway to flavor them) and add onion (if not using powder). Cook till chicken has no pink and onion is transluscent.

Add tomatoes with juice and beans. Stir and let simmer for a few minutes. Add bacon. (Alternately--if you like your bacon crispier, you can save it and garnish the chili with it--that might have improved my picture above--alas, didn't think of it in time.) Add herbs. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Garnish with cheese or sour cream if desired.


Linked up to Miz Helen's Chili Cookoff


  1. Your Chicken Bacon Chili looks delicious. I really like your combination of flavors and can't wait to try it. I am so excited that you entered it in The Texas Star Chili Cook Off 2011. Thank you so much for your entry and good luck with the Cook Off!
    Miz Helen

  2. This sounds delicious and I think your chili is posing pretty well in the photo!

  3. I made this for src. It was delicious.



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