As the winter lingers well into what should be spring, I comfort myself with variations on chili until warmer weather comes. This one has a distinctly Italian twist featuring a tang of balsamic vinegar and roasted red pepper. —Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus
ground chicken (I prefer a blend of dark and white meat)
large yellow onion, chopped
aged balsamic vinegar
roasted red peppers, jarred or homemade
rosemary, finely chopped
fresh thyme, chopped
ground cinnamon, or one whole cinnamon stick
In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook, breaking up, until well browned, about 7 minutes. Pour off any excess fluid if it is preventing proper browning of your meat.
While your chicken cooks, put your roasted red peppers in a mini food processor and puree to a liquid-like state. If you are using home-made peppers (not jarred and packed in oil), you may need to add a tsp of olive oil to get the desired texture.
Add the onion, carrot, chili powder and cinnamon, as well as salt and pepper, to the chicken, and continue to cook until vegetables are lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic to the chicken and vegetables and cook for 1 minute. Add balsamic vinegar to the pot and scrape vigorously to deglaze the pan, then add the roasted red pepper puree. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, chickpeas, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in half of the Pecorino cheese, saving the rest for topping.
Combine the ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve your chili in bowls topped with the remaining Pecorino and pass the ricotta for dolloping (like Italian sour cream). Enjoy!