I'll let you in on a dirty little secret...as gung-ho as I am about making things from scratch in the kitchen there are times when I take the easy road (or as I like to call it the "sloth road"). Case in point, when the weather's warm the last thing I want to do is roast a whole chicken and have my cottage feeling like it's 100+ degrees so I buy a roasted chicken at Costco. Costco has crispy, golden-brown whole chickens ready to go for $5!! Can't beat that! Trust me, it can be quite the savior on a busy weeknight. Now granted you could go home and just eat the chicken as is but if you're feeling a bit more creative, you can use it as a base in a recipe. I do this often- I love chopping up the chicken meat and using it to make Curry Chicken Salad or slicing it up and using it in chicken pot pies, enchiladas, or even as a pizza topping. Store bought roasted chickens are so cheap and versatile.
Last week when one the kidlets was sick and stayed home, I made this terrific Saveur recipe that my friend Michelle sent me. I had a bunch of rotisserie chicken meat that I had thrown in a freezer bag that I wanted to use up and this was the perfect recipe to use it in. The original recipe requires you to do all the cooking on the stove top, but I just sautéed the veggies and herbs in a pan, then threw everything in a slow cooker and let it meld for a few hours. By the time the kidlets were ready to eat, everything was piping hot and ready to go! The kidlets liked it so much they both had second helpings. I liked it too but I think next time, I might toss in a cup of frozen corn to up the vegetable ratio. With all the time I saved using this recipe, Kidlet #2 and I watched Madagascar 3. Not a shabby flick! In fact, now I want to watch Madagascar 1 and 2. ☺
This is a great recipe to serve on a weeknight, potluck or on a game-day. Leftovers can be used in tacos and burritos.
Btw, don't shy away from using the jalapeno and the green chilies, this recipe is NOT spicy. Of course if you like heat, you could doctor it up a bit by adding more cayenne, hot sauce or not deseeding the jalapeno.
White Bean Chicken Chili (adapted from Saveur Cooks Recipe Journal)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 seeded jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
2/3 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 (15 oz.) can large white beans, undrained (I used Organic Great Northern Beans)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups store-bought rotisserie chicken, skin removed and shredded
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender, 4 to 7 minutes. Add in the garlic, jalapeno, green chile peppers, carrots, cumin, oregano, cloves and cayenne.
2. Continue to cook the mixture for about 3-4 minutes.
3. In the slow cooker, place your shredded chicken, beans and broth. Add in the recently sautéed ingredients. Cover. If you started with frozen chicken, keep it on high for 2 hours then switch to low for at least 2 hours. If your chicken was thawed, then cook on low for 4-5 hours.
4. About 2 hours in, mash the chili with a large spoon or potato masher, until half the beans are broken up. This will give the chili a thicker consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
5. To serve- spoon chili in bowl and top with shredded cheese. The cheese gets nice and gooey (which the kidlets loved). I served mine with a bacon-chive focaccia bread but tortillas or cornbread would work well too.