A few years ago I was watching one of Giada de Laurentis’ cooking shows and she was preparing this dish. Normally, I’m not one to run to the kitchen to try out every new recipe I find (as I’m notorious for inventing and/or reinventing recipes) but this one caught my interest. (Of course, old habits die hard and I did in fact end up making my own variation!)
I know some of you die-hard chili fans out there might be thinking that this is NOT your idea of chili. Well, you’re somewhat right…it doesn’t call for spice, but who says you can’t add some hot pepper flakes or cayenne pepper? (Just don’t forget to remove your child’s portion before doing so!).
What it definitely IS is a healthier rendition of chili. Substituting the ground beef with ground chicken reduces the fat content. Kale is full of healthy nutrients and vitamins and adds a slightly bitter bite to the chili which is perfectly offset by the sweet beans and corn.
The recipe yields quite a bit but the more the merrier! I’m a fan of making large batches of one-pot wonders because I either have enough leftovers for a few days or I can freeze them in ready to serve portions for a later date.
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large red onion (about 1 cup), finely diced
1 large carrot (about 1 cup), finely diced
2 celery stalks (about 1 cup), finely diced
2 tbsp. potato starch (or regular white flour if you don’t have a gluten intolerance)
450g ground chicken
4 cups homemade vegetable broth (or organic low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth)
1 cup cold water
1/2 can of corn
1 can of white kidney beans, drained (reserve half of the starchy liquid)
1 cup of finely chopped kale
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Remove kale stems, rinse leaves thoroughly with water then chop finely.
In a medium pot, heat olive oil on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes or until translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add ground chicken and spices to the pot and cook for 12-15 minutes or until browned. Add potato starch (or flour) to the chicken, stir in and cook for about 1 minute before adding the other ingredients.
*Tip: Ground chicken does not break apart as easily as ground beef when cooked so try to break most of it apart during the cooking process, otherwise you might end up with some not-so toddler friendly chunks. (I usually use a wooden spatula to “chop” the chicken.)
Increase heat to high, add broth and kale and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes reduce the heat to low, add corn and beans along with the starchy liquid from the beans, which will help thicken the chili.
Cook for another 20-25 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened.
Serve warm with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.