Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Rachel's Buffalo Chicken Chili with Blue Cheese-Corn Mug Toppers

4 to 6 servings

This chili tastes like Buffalo wings, but it's a little better for you. A cold beer is still a good idea for a chaser.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 pounds ground chicken I ground my own.
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (half a palmful)I used more
1 teaspoon ground coriander (one-third palmful)
6 ounces beer (your favorite brew) Dos Equis is what I used.
1/4 cup cayenne pepper hot sauce I used closer to 1/2 cup. Mostly Louisiana Hot Sauce, but also with about 1 T. of Frontera's Red Pepper Sauce.
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
One 8.5-ounce Jiffy-brand corn muffin mix
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
2 scallions, finely chopped
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)

1. Heat a medium Dutch oven or large skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, and the butter and melt together. Add the chicken and cook, breaking up the meat, for 6 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, onion, carrot and jalapeno. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and coriander, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the beer and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Concentrate the flavor of the beer by reducing the mixture over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce and the tomato sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the chili for 15 minutes.

2. Prepare the corn muffin mix with the milk and egg according to package directions for corn pancakes. Stir the scallions and the blue cheese into the pancake batter. Heat a nonstick gridde pan or large skillet over medium heat. Nest a small piece of butter in a paper towel and rub over the pan. Drop rounded tablespoons of the batter into the pan. Cook the pancakes until bubbles form at the edges, then flip them and cook until golden all over, about 2 minutes per side. You will have enough batter for about 20 pancakes. Serve 2 pancakes with each mug of chili. (I shove a second one in the mugs halfway through.) Serve extra mug toppers and hot sauce at the table.