This weekend was one of those great fall weekends that don’t come around often enough in Wisconsin. It was Homecoming, the Badgers had a definitive win and the city was packed. The weather was clear, except for a few minutes of rain on Saturday. Hopefully all of this left you with more energy than you might normally have had on Sunday. Or maybe, like me, as you watched the Packers win a close game and nursed a hangover from the two days prior, you had an urge to participate in some fall activities.
What are fall activities? They are those activities normally reserved for adults who don’t typically have hangovers on Sundays —activities like carving pumpkins, jumping into a pile of leaves, drinking apple cider and standing outside in matching sweaters.
When it comes to food-related fall activities, my favorite is definitely making chili. Chili is the perfect fall food. As the weather gets colder, few things have the warming power of chili.
Here’s one of my favorite chili recipes. It’s a white chicken chili that’s pretty easy to make, hearty and satisfying. I like to call it The Avian Stew.
The Avian Stew
- One whole rotisserie chicken
- 5 or 6 large carrots
- One head of celery
- One or two yellow, sweet or white onions.
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1 Serrano pepper
- 1 Poblano pepper
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Two cans of your favorite white beans (I like butter or pinto)
- Spices (salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper and cumin are great but a premade spice packet works well too)
- A couple tablespoons of olive oil
Cut the carrots, celery, onions and peppers into small pieces and set aside. (Use a glove or a plastic bag for handling the peppers!) Peel and mince the garlic. Open up one of the cans of beans and strain the liquid. Using a bowl and a fork, mash the beans into a paste (this will thicken the chili later). Take all the meat off the rotisserie chicken and give it a rough chop to about the size of the vegetable pieces.
Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat it on low or medium. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the garlic and stir. After about a minute, add all the veggies (they should nearly fill the pot) and let them cook down with the pot covered. Every few minutes stir the pot, so the veggies cook evenly. After the vegetables have had time to cook (about 30 minutes or so), add the chicken, the bean paste, the other can of beans with the liquid, the chicken stock, the cream and the spices. Let the chili simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to an hour (longer is better). Serve with bread and butter.
Feel free to alter, meddle, experiment and modify as needed. But most importantly, enjoy the weather while you can!