Chicken and Hominy Chili

This homey dish is quite unlike what we usually think of as chili but the cookbook I adapted it from, Williams-Sonoma Chicken (Simon & Schuster Source, NY 2001), calls it chili so I will too. The original calls for canned hominy but I use dried which is much more economical and readily available in the Latino food section of your supermarket. You can red, green, yellow bell peppers and red or green chile peppers in this dish. I like to use contrasting colors to brighten the dish. Served over Mexican-style rice this makes a nice warming meal.

Ingredients

For the chili

4 ounces dried hominy, I use yellow for its rich color but white is fine, or 1 can hominy

12 ounce boneless chicken thighs or 1 pound bone-in

1 yellow onion, chopped (set aside ¼ of the chopped onion for the rice)

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño or cayenne pepper, minced

2 cloves garlic, mashed then minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. ground cumin

1 cup chicken stock (reduce by ½ cup if using canned hominy)

1 cup beer

2 Tbsp. masa harina or yellow cornmeal

Salt to taste

For the rice

1 cup medium grain white rice

2 Tbsp. chopped onion

1 ½ cups chicken stock

½ cup tomato sauce

Salt to taste

Method

The chili

If using dried hominy, rinse it well and put into a pressure cooker or pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Cook at 15 psi for 20 minutes in pressure cooker or for about 45 minutes at atmospheric pressure. Cool the pressure cooker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Drain the hominy and set aside.

Skin and bone the chicken if needed and cut into bite-sized cubes. Heat the oil in a small enameled Dutch over or equivalent and brown the chicken, working in batches if need be. Set aside.

Adjust the fat in the pot then add the onion, peppers, and chiles.  Sweat over medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Stir in the oregano and cumin. Pour in the beer and stock then return the chicken to the pan and add the hominy. Stir, bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Mix the masa or cornmeal with a bit of water to make a paste and stir into the chili. Boil for a couple of minutes to thicken.

The rice

Heat a scant tablespoon of oil in a saucepan.  Fry the onion and rice for about 2 minutes then add the stock and sauce. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, and cook for about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and salt to taste.

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