Weeknight meals are sometimes a challenge for busy families and chili seems to be an easy and delicious option, while providing a way to eat more vegetables. Ground meat is usually the protein of choice in most chilies, but I find that if you use freshly cut-up chunks of meat, it’s more satisfying.
In this recipe for Easy Chicken Vegetable Chili, I use a variety of veggies like onions, carrots and fennel for a fresh mixture of flavor. Also, I throw in a few cups of fresh spinach at the end of the cooking time, for some added texture and nutrition. You can make this recipe in a slow cooker too, but it is so simple – the stovetop works just fine.
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, sliced thinly
3 stalks of celery, sliced
1 small bulk fennel, core removed and sliced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced into chunks
1 – 28 ounce can plum tomatoes
1 – 10 ounce can fire roasted tomato with green chilies, like rotel
2 tablespoons masa harina or corn flour, optional
4 cups fresh spinach leaves
1. In a large pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and all the vegetables except the spinach. Saute for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly softened. Then, add the chili powder, cumin, onion powder, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine.
2. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the diced chicken. Stir to combine the chicken and vegetables and saute for 5 minutes or until the chicken pieces are lightly brown on the outside. The meat will not be cooked through at this point.
3. Then, add the canned tomatoes and using your wooden spoon, break the larger plum tomatoes apart. Stir the entire chili mixture to combine the flavors. Turn the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid slightly ajar. Continue to cook the chili for 30-45 minutes or until the liquid is slightly reduced and the meat is tender.
4. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of masa harina or corn flour and stir, this will thicken the sauce slightly and give the sauce nice texture. Then, add the spinach and stir, continue to cook the chili for 4 minutes more.
5. Turn off the heat and ladle into bowls. You can serve this with a fresh green salad or all by itself. Enjoy!