Coming from Texas, I love my beef chili. It’s thick, rich, spicy, and has no beans. But, occasionally, I do like to mix it up and experiment with other types. I created this chicken version because I wanted to see if I could infused a bit of smokey flavor to the chicken before putting it together with the rest of the ingredients. The result was a great tasting chili and the smokey flavor isn’t too heavy. If you don’t have a smoker, you can definitely use a charcoal grill and some wood chips to infuse the smokiness. But, if you’re a gas grill user…you might have to settle for just grilling the chicken without that smoke infusion (unless there’s a smoke feature on your grill).
I also use my own grilling spice mix to season the chicken. The recipes for all four of them (for beef, chicken, pork and seafood) can be found here.
Smoked Chicken Chili
2 lb Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless
2 tsp Wayne’s Grilling Spice Mix for Chicken (get the recipe here)
3 ears Fresh Sweet Corn (or 2 cans sweet corn rinsed and drained)
1 tbl Olive Oil
1 lg Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Celery Stalks, split lengthwise and chopped
1 Yellow Pepper, diced
3 cloves Garlic, peeled smashed and chopped
1 lg Yellow Squash, diced
1 can Cannellini Beans, 15oz size, rinsed and drained
1 tbl Chili Powder
1 1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
48oz Chicken Stock, I used low sodium fat free
2 tbl Corn Masa
6 Corn Tortillas
Season the chicken with my grilling spice mix. If you’d rather not prepare the spice mix, then season the chicken with salt, pepper and a little chili powder.
Prepare your grill or smoker. If you’re using a grill, place a small amount coals to the side with a few wood chips (I used mesquite) and create a low heat smoke (about 250 degrees F). If you’re using a smoker, smoke the chicken breasts at 250 degrees F as a well, for about 45 minutes.
While chicken is smoking, removed the corn from the cob, by cutting off a bit of one end so that you can stand the corn up vertically. Then, using a sharp knife, slice down the length of the cob, cutting away the kernels. Continue around the cob and then repeat with the other two. Set kernels aside.
Heat olive oil over a medium low heat in a stock pot. Add onion and sauté them for about 5 minutes, keeping the temperature low so that the onions don’t burn. Add the celery and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the yellow pepper and garlic and sauté for about 4 minutes. Add corn and squash followed by the cannellini beans, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the chicken stock.
Remove chicken from your smoker or grill and, using tongs, cut the chicken into 1” cubes. Add chicken and all juices to the pot. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce heat down to a very low simmer. Cover for 15 minutes. Place corn masa in a large bowl. Using a ladle or large spoon, remove about 1 cup of the liquid from the chili and pour it over the masa. Stir with a fork to remove all lumps. Pour mixture into the pot and stir to combine. Cover for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat over to 400 degrees F. Stack all of the tortillas and cut them in half with a sharp knife. With each half, rotate each stack 90 degrees and cut very thin strips. Place all the strips on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes until the strips are crispy. Toss the strips with tongs after about 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and set aside.
Thinly slice one lime for garnish. Slice the remainder into wedges.
To serve, ladle the chicken chili into a bowl and top with tortilla strips and a thin lime slice. Give your guests additional lime wedges to squeeze into their servings.