What makes chili a chili? For me it's a chili pepper, of course! Or any other hot pepper. I have prepared a chili recipe to share with you, a more traditional version, but then I thought I'd share this idea first. There's a Georgian dish named Chakhokhbili (and it does rhyme with Chili!) that is prepared using chicken, tomatoes, peppers and fresh herbs. Originally, they use the whole chicken with bones. I used boneless skinless drumsticks--the dark chicken meat makes this dish very hearty. However, you can use any part of chicken. The trick is to sauté the chicken before adding everything else.
Although some variations of Chakhokhbili call for a bell or sweet pepper, I decided to use the bitter one- red hot chili (dried). To re-hydrate the peppers, I poured hot boiling water over and soaked the peppers for couple of hours. If you want to make the dish less spicy, remove the seeds. If you want it mild--just use bell pepper.
My version is quite spicy, so beware!
Chakhokhbili- Spicy Chicken & Tomato Stew from Georgia
2 lb dark chicken meat, boneless and skinless
2 cups (about a pound) slices onions
2-3 closes of garlic, crushed
1 cup (about 4 oz in weight, please see photo above) re-hydrated red hot chili, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley & dill
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 TB spoons tomato paste
2 TB spoons olive oil
Salt to taste
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or aluminum pot, add chicken and brown it on high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring to make sure it turns golden brown on all sides;
- Add onions and peppers, mix and sauté on medium heat with open lid for 5-8 minutes or until onions are translucent;
- Add both diced and crushed tomatoes plus tomato paste, mix, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through on medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning;
- Add fresh herbs, cover, turn off heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving;
- Serve with bread or boiled potatoes, or fire extinguisher!