So is it a curry or a chili? Exactly. This one-pot wonder can be whatever you want it to be – it’s all in the marketing. For example, if you’re serving to kids or vegetable-phobes, do not call it “Chicken Curry Chili with tons of tomatoes, garbanzo beans and winter squash”; “Chicken Chili” might be a safer bet. Or build a campaign around the secret ingredient: peanut butter.
We waited all summer for these beefsteaks to ripen, and now we can’t eat them fast enough. So – into the soup pot went all the tomatoes that were a day or two away from mush. The winter squash was a last-minute inspiration; the curry/chili was a little thin (a perfectly fine soup), so I decided to add a block of frozen squash I had in the freezer. Because the squash was already cooked, it magically dissolved into the chili – leaving only a velvety texture and autumnal orange hue as clues to its presence.
Finally, a word on spices. (Curry, in this case, but it’s true for all.) Make sure yours are fresh! It really does make a difference in the final product.
Chicken Curry Chili
Makes approx. 10 servings
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 onions, chopped (approx. 2 cups)
- 2 ½ lbs skinless, boneless chicken or turkey breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
- 4 cups chopped tomatoes (plum or beefsteak) OR 1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes
- 32 oz (1 box) chicken broth
- 1 can (15.5 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 box (12 oz) frozen cooked winter squash OR 1 can pumpkin purée (optional)
- Red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
- Optional garnishes: chopped peanuts, cilantro, or diced avocado
In a large heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for a few minutes until softened.
Sprinkle chicken with 2 teaspoons kosher salt; add to pot along with jalapeño and garlic. Sauté until chicken is just starting to brown but not cooked through.
Add curry powder and cook another 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, chicken broth, garbanzo beans, peanut butter and brown sugar; bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have cooked down. Add frozen winter squash and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes or until squash is incorporated and chili has thickened. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or sugar as needed. For more heat, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro, if desired. Diced avocado is nice too. Serve over rice if you’re going for curry, or with tortilla chips if you’re calling it chili.