I don't know what Rachael Ray had to do to get the idea of melting blue cheese on tortilla chips then putting them on top of buffalo chicken flavored chili, but it was worth it. Yeah, I'm serious. Rachael made Buffalo Chicken Chili way back in the first month of her talk show and re-aired it in January. I have been thinking about it ever since then. But you really have to be in the mood for chili that tastes like buffalo chicken wings, ya know?
The mood finally struck me, then I had to choose between the recipe on the talk show's website and the recipe in Every Day with Rachael Ray. Hmmmmm. Sadly, the choice came down to which was was easier to make. The magazine's recipe included making little corn cakes as toppers, while the talk show recipe included melting said blue cheese over said chips. That was the deal breaker for me. Talk show recipe it was. I made my shopping list and headed off to the store!
Wow, this recipe was good. It was just such a treat because (a) it was so easy to make, (b) it was quick, and (c) it was really different. And, it probably doesn't really need to be said again, but (d) those blue-cheese covered tortilla chips on top. This one will definitely be made again in our house.
Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets and Rachael's comments are in parentheses:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds all-white meat ground chicken breast [Of course, my store had only one package of ground chicken left and it was 1.25 pounds. So, I bought that and 1.25 pounds of ground turkey. I froze the extra turkey for use in a quick mac and cheese sometime later.]
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
5 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (you can substitute with chipotles or chipotle chili powder) [They finally sell smoked paprika in my store, so I was excited to try it out.]
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1/4-1/2 cup hot sauce, depending on how hot you like it [I used an amount somewhere in between the two, one of you math people can tell me how much that is.]
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce (if you have a big can of tomatoes, don't go to the store to get the sauce, it's fine. Just use what you have)
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 7-ounce bag yellow corn chips
1 7-ounce bag blue corn chips [I just used the white corn ones I had on hand.]
3/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled, recommended type Maytag Blue [I had some gorgonzola left over from another recipe, so I used that. Close enough, right?]
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (a couple of handfuls)
Preheat oven to 375°F or broiler to medium. [Go for the broiler. It's faster and mine doesn't require any preheating.]
Place a large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, and the butter. Once the butter has melted and the pot is hot, add the ground chicken. Brown it, using the back of a wooden spoon to break it up in to small pieces, about 5-6 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, paprika, bay leaf and some salt and pepper. [I just love the chop and drop recipes.] Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. [That part's important. There is lots of flavor in those little brown bits.] Add the hot sauce, tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes, and bring up to a bubble. Simmer for 8-10 minutes to let the flavors come together.
While the chili is simmering, spread the yellow and blue corn chips out on a cookie sheet. Top with the crumbled blue cheese and transfer to the oven to melt the cheese, about 4-5 minutes. If using the broiler, 2-3 minutes should do the trick. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. [Try not to eat them all before you put them on the chili. I forgot to add the parsley, as usual.]
Top each serving of buffalo chicken chili with a few blue cheese-topped corn chips.
Yields 4 servings