Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8: Chipotle Chicken Chili Mac

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken
2 tablespoons grill seasoning, such as McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/2 pound baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/4 pound shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
4 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped, with their juices, or 2 tablespoons ground chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 bottle imported beer, such as Stella Artois
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock or broth
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 pound cavatappi or ridged macaroni
   8-ounce piece of smoked Gouda, shredded
   8-ounce sack shredded Cheddar cheese
1 small white onion, finely chopped
   A handful of cilantro, finely chopped

Heat a deep, large skillet or a pot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the EVOO and the meat. Season it with the grill seasoning and sear it, browning and crumbling it, for 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the meat to a plate and return the pot to the stove.

Reduce the heat to medium high and add the remaining tablespoon of EVOO. Add the mushrooms and begin to brown them before adding the other veggies. After 2 or 3 minutes the mushrooms will begin to shrink and soften.

Push the mushrooms off to one side of the pot and add the onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic to the opposite side of the pot.

Once they have been working for a few minutes, mix the veggies with the mushrooms. Return the meat to the pan, and season with the Worcestershire sauce, chipotle, and cumin. Add the beer to deglaze the pot, scraping up all the pan drippings.

Reduce the beer by half, 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, and thyme to the chili and simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors combine. Taste to adjust the seasonings.

While the chili cooks, cook the pasta al dente, then drain and return it to the hot pot.

Add the chili to the pasta and stir.

Pour the chili-mac into a casserole dish and top with a mixture of smoked Gouda and Cheddar.

Melt the cheese under a hot broiler 6 inches away from the heat until golden. Garnish the dish with finely chopped raw onions and chopped cilantro.


Rachael Ray says this is 4 servings. But with 2 pounds of meat and a whole pound of pasta plus cheese on top, I can't see how only 4 people could eat it all. Maybe if they were pro football players :) We'll be eating this one for a while. This is what I call comfort food. My husband doesn't like veggies in his macaroni, but he liked it ok. It's just not his idea of comfort food. I actually really liked it, even though I can't stand the thought of chicken, being in my first trimester and all. It didn't really taste that much like chicken, though, so it was ok. This is a good one if you want to feed a group.

This is a variation of the Uptown Down-Home Chili. I only changed the recipe in that I wrote it all out instead of saying "omit" such-and-such, "swap" this and that, and "add" so and so. I didn't have any Gouda, so I used all Cheddar, and I used an orange pepper instead of a red one. Not very big changes. It was delicious and I hope the leftovers are as good!

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