I’ve mentioned before that my first cookbook was a Rachael Ray cookbook and I have a soft spot for her because of it. She was the first cook that made things feel accessible enough for me to try them out myself.
I bought a few of her cookbooks early on but I’d since abandoned them. Except for a few pages in t he middle, they didn’t have any pictures and I came to realize that I’m much more likely to cook something if I know how it’s supposed to look finished.
A few weeks ago, Rachael was at my local bookstore signing copies of her newest cookbook, Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook. I decided the opportunity to meet her was worth the price of another cookbook for the shelf. Rachael was really nice and I was pleasantly surprised to see a good chunk of the book had color pictures.
Mark picked this recipe out of the book to try and I was a little hesitant about it for a weeknight dinner because it seemed like it had so many elements. Everything came together quickly, though, and it produced a very nice meal with less effort than I anticipated. Definitely a keeper.
Chipotle Chicken Chili with Flaming Tequila-Pepper Salsa and Avocado Ranch Dressing
(from Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook, also available on her website)
4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 slices smoky bacon, chopped
2 pounds ground chicken breast
2-3 T. pureed chipotle in adobo, depending on preferred heat level
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. ground coriander
1 T. smoked sweet paprika
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
3 T. tomato paste
4 c. chicken stock (32 ounces)
Salt and pepper
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
4 shots of tequila
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
1 avocado, pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. fresh chives, finely chopped Crushed tortilla chips, for garnish
Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the bacon to the pan and brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken to the pot and brown, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the lumps. Add the pureed chipotle, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika, then stir for 1 minute. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until tender, 5 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and chicken stock and some salt and pepper to the pot and bring the liquids up to a bubble. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
While the chili is simmering, place a medium size skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bell peppers, red onion and jalapeños to the skillet and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the tequila. Return the skillet to the heat and flame the tequila to burn off most of the alcohol. Add the lime juice, cilantro and some salt to the salsa.
To a food processor bowl add the avocado, chives, lemon juice and buttermilk. Process until smooth and then season with salt and pepper.
Serve up the chili with some of the tequila-pepper salsa and avocado ranch dressing. Garnish with tortilla chips.
While I was at the book signing, I got another copy of Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook signed for a lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment letting me know who or what inspired you to cook.
For an additional entry, subscribe via email (in the right-hand column) and leave me a seperate comment letting me know. Already an email subscriber? Leave me a seperate comment letting me know that too and you’ll get your second entry.
Comments can be made until midnight EST on December 10, 2010. I’ll announce a winner December 11.