Rockin’ Chicken Chili ala Carlita


Low fat, low carb (but it doesn’t taste like it) and FULL of good stuff for your bod. I’ve included a link to a video which demonstrates how to chiffonade in case you need to learn the technique. I think it’s fun, and I use it on most of my fresh herbs and leafy greens unless I leave them whole. There is also a link to a video demonstrating how to remove the stems from your chard prior to practicing your new technique. Do I think of everything, or what? 😛

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • About a pound of ground chicken
  • One onion, red or yellow, diced
  • Three or four garlic cloves, finely minced
  • One red bell pepper, diced or julienned, your choice
  • One bunch of swiss chard, washed and chiffonaded (please be sure to remove the tough stems including those in the middle of the leaves)
  • 1 to 1/2  bunch of cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
  • One can each of black beans and cannellini (white kidney) beans, preferably salt free or low sodium, drained and rinsed.
  • About a cup of corn (I use frozen for this recipe)
  • One poblano chile
  • One jalapeno chile (more if you like your heat this way)
  • About 1/8 of a D’Arbol chile finely chopped (again, optional, for heat YOUR taste)
  • About a cup of white wine, dry or semi-dry
  • 2-4 cups of chicken stock (low or no sodium, por favor)
  • 1 Tbs. of oil
  • 2 Tbs. of cumin
  • Salt (I prefer kosher)
  • Black pepper (I prefer freshly ground)
  • Suracha (optional) for heat
  • About 3-4 Tbs. of flour
  • Water
  • The juice of three or four limes

NOTE: I like to remove the seeds from my chiles…this is up to you. You like that heat, leave ’em in. Freedom baby! It’s a beautiful thing! 🙂

What you do:

In a dutch oven or other large pot, heat your small amount of oil (I prefer olive or grape seed) over medium heat until you see it shimmer. Add in the onions, garlic, bell pepper, poblano and jalapeño pepper, D’Arbol chile and the cumin. Sautee until the onion is soft and fragrant. You want cooked tender, not crisped here. Add the chicken, and cook thoroughly, breaking it apart as you stir. If things get sticky, just turn down the heat a bit…we will be de-glazing the pan shortly.

Once the chicken is cooked, add the wine, and allow it to simmer until you can no longer detect any scent of alcohol. This step is important–trust me. And be sure to scrape all those tasty bits off the bottom of your pan while the wine is simmering. Once the alcohol has burned off, add in the chard and the cilantro (if you don’t like cilantro, by all means leave it out!), and stir well. I recommend cutting your chard length-wise and cross-wise so the strips are not too long. Once everything is well combined, add in the flour. Stir until everything adheres together nicely and feels ‘stiff.’ You are not making a roue, you are just adding the thickening agent which will help make this a heartier dish later.

Add your chicken stock. You can use less–or none–if you are really strapped for cash, but the stock does add a nice richness to this dish. Add in a few cups of water so that your total liquid equals about six cups.

Add your beans, rinsed thoroughly so as to remove any extra sodium and color from the liquid they are stored in. As Nadia G. says on Bitchin’ Kitchen, “You are the mistress [or master] of your kitchen. YOU control  the salt!” Add the corn, and stir. Add about 1 tsp of salt, and about the same of pepper. I recommend adding your heat elements, and your salt and pepper slowly, over the length of your cooking time. Cooking changes the flavor, intensifies heat such as peppers and seasonings such as salt. So taste and add, taste and  add slowly…Remember: you can put more in, you can’t take it out. I usually end up tossing in quite a bit more cumin and garlic powder as well, but hey, that’s how I roll.

After the chili has cooked down a bit, add in the lime juice. You can use lemons if you don’t have limes, but watch out for seeds, and use a bit less. Again, add this ‘bright’ element to taste.

This will take a long time (several hours) to cook. Stir occasionally over low heat, just simmering. You don’t want a rolling boil, but neither do you want the pot sitting there doing nothing. Place the lid on at an angle to keep things happening, prevent spatters, and make people think you don’t know how to put a lid on a pot. Always good to keep ’em guessing. Add in some Suracho paste or more cumin, or another jalapeno if there isn’t enough heat for you. Tailor this to suit YOUR taste. It has to taste good to YOU or you won’t eat it, and then where are you? That’s right, fat and still hungry.

To serve, I use fat-free sour cream and some parmesan cheese. Change it up all you like, but go easy on the ‘creamy’ cheeses as they are loaded with fat. This recipe contains so little fat and is so packed with healthy, low glycemic index foods that it is satisfying to even the most skeptical of palates. Go ahead…try it! What have you got to lose–except those extra pounds, am I right?


Not elegant, just full of good ole fashioned yummification, like Mama never made 🙂

Oh, and feel free to email with any questions about ingredients, substitutions, or whatever. I’m here for ya!


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