I was never really much of an Emeril fan back in the day. By back in the day, I mean a few years ago when I was living with my parents and we had extended basic cable, complete with the Food Network and HGTV. All that ‘Bam!’ and whatever. Not my thing.
However, I am completely addicted to Emeril’s new show on the Planet Green channel. It’s called Emeril Green and he focuses on recipes that are healthy and use organic ingredients. He also highlights food producers that practice sustainable agriculture. The show is a constant commercial for Whole Foods, but eh, whatevs.
I’ve tried a few recipes from the show and while he seriously failed me with his heritage grains recipe, his soups have been fantastic. The Beans and Greens Stew is super healthy and suprisingly delicious, and a real hit with the friends. The other night I tried his chicken chili with root vegetables, and I cannot get enough of it. I’ve been alternating soups for lunch at work and they both leave me happily satisfied and energized for my afternoon. I highly recommend.
Chicken and Root Veggie Chili
adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Emeril Green
Emeril adds jalapenos and bell peppers to his chili, making it a lot spicier. I didn’t have a jalapeno and Jer is allergic to bell peppers, so neither made it into our version, making this soup less spicy and more hearty, but feel free to experiment as you see fit.
One each: rutabaga, turnip, parsnip
Two cans beans (or 3-4 cups beans cooked from dry), either black, red, or a mix
1 can diced tomatoes (you could get tomatoes that have jalapenos in them for easy added flavor)
One small or half large onion, diced fine
One garlic clove, minced (you can add more if you are a big garlic fan)
3-4 chicken thighs (boneless skinless is easiest, but use what you have. I like to scour the ads and find deals on organic free-range meat. Central Market usually has the best choices for free-range poultry)
4-5 cups chicken stock (canned is fine, but it’s better to make your own!)
Salt and pepper
Chop root vegetables in one-inch chunks (try to keep them fairly uniform). Finely dice onion (see this post for great tips) Season chicken thighs by sprinkling with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large stockpot and sear chicken thighs on all sides. Remove to plate or cutting board. Add onion, root veggies, and a dash of salt and pepper to stockpot and cook about 5 minutes. While veggies cook, chop chicken into small pieces. When onions have softened, add garlic, a teaspoon each of paprika and chili powder, and a dash of cayenne. Then toss in the cut up chicken, along with the can of tomatoes. Cook for a couple more minutes, then add beans and stock. Bring to a boil, tasting the broth for spiciness and flavor. Add additional spices as you see fit: maybe some cumin, a little tabasco or salsa, extra chili powder. Once the soup has come to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer* for 20-30 mins, until slightly thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Emeril serves this with a fancy chipotle crema. I mixed a little tabasco into some plain yogurt and spooned it on along with some shredded cheddar (you could also use sour cream) but really, the soup doesn’t need anything.
This will keep for several days in the fridge. I recommend putting it in individual 2-cup containers so they are ready to take to work. It just gets better as the days go by!
*A simmer means that the soup is just barely boiling-not a full rolling boil, but has some movement. You don’t want to break up the beans and veggies too much, but you do want the soup to thicken nicely.