Dark Meat Chicken Chili

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This chili has an incredible rich flavor. The chicken is browned and then braised and both dried and smoked chiles are used instead of chili powder. Not too spicy- just absolutely delicious!!

This recipe was adapted from a dark meat turkey chili in Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I substituted boneless, skinless, chicken thighs for turkey drumsticks and adjusted the cooking times. We ate it with all of the toppings (of course) as well as with cornbread on the side (in Pullman loaf form!). Perfect for any cold day- or for the Super Bowl. 🙂

Yield: 8 Servings

  • 2 guajillo chiles, stems removed
  • 1 ancho chile, stem removed
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, plus 1 Tbsp. adobo
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12-oz. can Pilsner or other light beer
  • 2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed
  • Lime wedges, sour cream, chopped red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and sliced avocado (for serving)
  1. Toast guajillo and ancho chiles in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, tossing, until darkened in color and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add 1 cup boiling water. Let sit 10 minutes.
  2. Add chipotle chile and adobo to the soaked dried chiles and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Set chile purée aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Working in batches if needed, cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic to same pot; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 8–10 minutes.
  5. Mix in cocoa, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until onion is coated and paste begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Add reserved chile purée and bring to boil.
  7. Continue to cook, stirring, until thickened and darkened in color, about 3 minutes.
  8. Add tomatoes, beer, and 4 cups water; season with salt and return chicken to pot. Bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered, until meat is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and let cool slightly. Shred meat and return to pot.
  10. Add beans and simmer, adding more water as needed, until meat is beginning to fall apart and beans are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes; season chili with salt.
  11. Serve chili with lime wedges, sour cream, red onion, chopped cilantro, and sliced avocado.

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