Make Ahead

Holy Mole Chicken Chili

January 29, 2012
7 Ratings
  • Serves about 6
Author Notes

So, this is not quite a traditional chili. It may even be a blasphemous chili. I'm never quite sure what the rules of chili are - I'm Norwegian, you can't really expect me to - I just know that I like it. Anyway, this chili came about because of a dinner at my in-laws right before Christmas. We had an amazing spectrum of dietary issues present: gluten free and no red meat, gluten free and no dairy, gluten free and vegetarian, no shellfish, no nuts... So, our host had decided on blackbean and butternut squash chili. Except, oops, I can't eat beans, sorry. So, she quickly changed to chicken chili with no beans. But that violated the need for a vegetarian option. In the end, we wound up with two separate pots of chili, one just chicken, and one blackbean and butternut squash. Now, I should have simply been happy to have something to eat, and I'm certainly not complaining, but I was a little bit sad I didn't get to have any squash in my chili. So, I fished some squash out of the bean chili, washed it off and added it to mine. The combination was delicious, and I vowed that the next time I made chili, it would be a chicken and butternut squash chili, so here it is. There's a decent amount of unsweetened chocolate in here, which gives it a mole-like richness. It's not super spicy because I was serving it to some other Norwegians (read: sensitive palates) but you can adjust the spice to your taste. —fiveandspice

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper (any color that floats your boat), finely chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce), chopped, plus more to increase spiciness to taste
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the canned chipotles)
  • 28 ounces can diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 8 ounces malty beer (drink the rest as you cook)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 3-inch long pieces of orange peel, peeled off with a vegetable peeler (so, no pith on them)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 ounce finely chopped unsweetened chocolate, plus more to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2-3 limes
  • chopped cilantro, for serving
  • fried corn tortilla strips (or corn chips) for serving
  1. In a rather large pot, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, bell pepper, poblano pepper, and jalapeno pepper, and cook, stirring, until softened, another 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for about 1 minute to toast the spices.
  2. Add the butternut squash and stir to coat it with the spices. Stir in the chipotle, adobo, canned tomato, beer, cinnamon stick and orange peel. Add a couple tsp. of salt. Stir and cover. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook, covered, until the butternut squash is tender, mine took around 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken pieces in batches and set aside.
  4. When the squash is tender, stir in the chicken and simmer just long enough to cook the chicken through, several minutes. Stir in the unsweetened chocolate plus more salt and pepper to taste. You can fish the cinnamon stick and orange peel out if you want, or just leave them for people to discover in their bowl as a fun surprise.
  5. Blend together the avocado with the sour cream, a pinch of salt, and the juice of half a lime (you can just mash it well with a fork if you don't want to bother with a blender/food processor). Cut the remaining limes and lime half into wedges. Serve the chili warm with the avocado cream to dollop on top (plus additional sour cream, if you'd like), lime wedges for squeezing over, and cilantro and tortilla strips for sprinkling. This is definitely a one pot meal - who needs to even bother with a salad?
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  • Lisa Braverman Yarbrough
    Lisa Braverman Yarbrough
  • JasMWood
  • hardlikearmour
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • Fairmount_market

15 Reviews

Lisa B. December 14, 2015
This recipe is wonderful. I did it in a crockpot- and added shredded chicken at the end. (I also added white beans, and did a mix of butternut squash and carrots.) I would serve this at a dinner party- the chili has a deep, rich flavor and is not that time-consuming. Going in my permanent rotation! Thank you!
Hippolyta November 1, 2015
I just made this with a mix of tempeh and seitan instead of chicken. I doubled the chipotle and chocolate. (What does 'extra chocolate to taste' mean, really? I'm pretty sure my taste buds never think 'too much chocolate'. ;) ) It's outstanding -- thanks for the recipe!
JasMWood September 30, 2015
I am entering this in a chili cook-off. I agree that while not traditional it is one of the better chilis I have had. There will be 40 - 50 people at the cook-off. Is there any reason why I cannot double the recipe without any changes?
fiveandspice October 1, 2015
I think it should work totally fine to double it.
KarenP February 6, 2015
This was absolutely delicious. Loved the squash, poblano, chipotle (I used more) and unsweetened chocolate (I used unsweetened cocoa). The avocado cream was a great topping. Thank you.
hardlikearmour February 1, 2012
This sounds really delicious! I'm guessing I could eat a whole bowl of just the avocado cream.
fiveandspice February 1, 2012
Thanks HLA! And, if you're anything like me, then yes, you most definitely could!
LeBec F. February 1, 2012
5, i have looked through so many of these recipes , but THIS one looks well thought out and tempting. And I very much appreciate your smart way of dealing with the chicken. I'm going to try it so thank you! I'm new to 52, this my second contest. After reading your sr crm topping info, you might also like the Lime Crema i have in one of my recipes.
fiveandspice February 1, 2012
Thank you very much Le Bec Fin. I'm really glad you think so! And, I will definitely take a look at your lime crema recipe - that sounds like something I would LOVE!
Fairmount_market January 31, 2012
Yum, I like the idea of squash and chicken in chili. Thanks for the inspiration.
fiveandspice January 31, 2012
Thank you! Glad you like it!
Midge January 30, 2012
Love the idea of squash in my chili. And chocolate, beer, and avocado cream? Saved!
fiveandspice January 30, 2012
Thanks Midge! :)
beijinggirl January 30, 2012
Sounds delicious!
fiveandspice January 30, 2012
Thank you!