Slow-Cooker Tomatillo Chicken Chili

 
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Snow days (on days) versus dustings in the South have spun our new year cravings out of routine. Neither do I prefer to trek across grocery store parking lots for fresh ingredients, nor do I seek to sacrifice my healthful, wholesome cooking resolutions for 2018 by relying on processed pantry and carb-heavy freezer foods.

However, with only five primary ingredients (most of which I keep on hand or properly stowed in my freezer), five show-stopping spices and garnishes, and five(-ish) hours in the slow cooker, I’ve managed to make the winning meal to satisfy my entire snow week. Not to mention, I am not typically a meal repeater—so, we are sharing in an entrusting recipe right here.

This healthy crowd-pleaser is perfect for a cozy family night in, a Super Bowl spread with friends and brews, or personal weekday meal prep for snowed-in or never-ending-errand periods.

Three minutes of prep—chopping a sweet potato consumes two of those three—yield a bountiful bowl of enriching, Mexican-style chili. The bold tomatillo salsa, whose color enhances the enlivening character of the bowl, brings out the savory and soothing flavors of braised chicken thigh and root vegetables.

A stewed chicken, tomatillo, sweet potato and pinto bean combination does qualify as a “chili” despite the stereotype. Last fall, I judged a Tennessee chili cook-off fundraiser with over thirty entries (and, yes, that means thirty spoonfuls of chili). While the anonymous candidates were creative in their flavor profiles and presentations, the ingredients never managed to stray beyond ground beef, black bean and tomato. These competitive recipes were extremely enriching, yet they became enmeshed after a couple of taste tests.

I encourage you to expound your chili go-to into one with a protein-rich yet original foundation. Let my recipe inspire you to try a new twist this new year.

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Serves 6

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1=inch cubes
1 16-ounce jar tomatillo salsa verde
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cans reduced-sodium pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, sliced
Cilantro leaves, to garnish

1. In a 6-quart or larger slow cooker, mix chicken, potatoes, salsa, broth, cumin, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours for low for 6 hours—Add beans during the final 30 minutes of cooking. 

2. Using two forks, shred chicken in the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.

3. To serve, top with avocado, cilantro and pepper.