Buffalo Chicken Chili

TGIF friends! I don’t know about you guys, but this has seriously felt like the longest week ever. Must be the whole coming back from vacation and trying to get back into a routine thing… Regardless, I am so ready for the weekend! Do you have anything fun planned? I think we’re finally going to make that long-awaited trip to the orchard to pick apples. I’m so looking forward to apple cider and a fresh doughnut, not to mention the huge quantities of homemade applesauce I plan to make with my bounty!

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Also on the agenda? Sunday afternoon on the couch in front of the tv watching football! As nice as it was to be on a beach in Mexico last weekend, I did miss my football games just a tiny bit. We actually found the Patriots game on a tv in the lobby on Sunday night but didn’t end up watching too much of it. Somehow it just didn’t feel right to watch tv for 3 hours when paradise was right outside the door, you know? :)

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Despite the fact that it’s been nearly 80 all week (not complaining one bit), I still have plans to make this buffalo chicken chili over the weekend too. I actually made this recipe several times last spring, but by the time I was ready to share it was nearly summer so I put it on the calendar for October instead. This is definitely fall comfort food! The recipe is so easy and highly adaptable, plus it’s relatively healthy too. Change up the spices, add beans, use shredded chicken instead of ground chicken, garnish with your favorite chili toppings – you can really make this your own. I even like to prepare it a day or two ahead as I’m convinced it’s better after it’s had some time for the flavors to meld.

Happy Friday!!

Buffalo Chicken Chili
adapted from Rachel Ray

{Note: start with 1/2 cup of hot sauce and go up from there if you’re worried about the chili being too spicy. That said, I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy foods and always go with closer to 3/4 cup for ours – otherwise I find the buffalo flavor doesn’t come through enough.}

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb ground chicken
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2-3/4 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes

Sliced green onion and shredded cheddar cheese, to garnish

Set a large pot over medium to medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the ground chicken and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Stir in the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until the veggies have softened. Add the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits. Stir in the hot sauce, tomato sauce, and crushed tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the veggies are tender and the chili has thickened to your desired consistency. (Sometimes I do it for as little as 15 minutes, but I’ve also let it go for more than an hour – just depends how much time I have when I’m making it. Just be aware that it starts off fairly thin, and will need closer to an hour if you want it to thicken up considerably.)

After simmering, try the chili and add additional seasonings and/or hot sauce to taste, if necessary. Garnish with sliced green onion, shredded cheddar cheese, or any other toppings you’d like before serving!

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator – they reheat well.