When we were in Telluride, CO, after riding the gondola up one side of the mountain and down the other, we ate at a little restaurant called Poacher's Pub. It was there that Dan ordered some seriously good chili mac and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind ever since.
Chili mac is the marriage of two of my food cravings-- chili and mac n' cheese. It's hearty, comforting and a perfect meal for a crisp fall evening. My version uses chicken and is really easy to make.
Chicken Chili Cheese Mac
Serves 4 with some chili left over
The chili is so easy to make that you don't even need a recipe. Feel free to add things in or take things out to suit your own taste.
First, heat 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add in about 1 pound of chicken-- I used boneless chicken thighs and boneless chicken breasts. Cook the chicken until it's cooked through. Remove it from the pot and set aside.
Next, add in one diced onion, one diced red pepper, and three chopped garlic cloves. Allow them to cook for about three minutes before pouring in a 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen all the browned bits. Let it all cook for another 3 or 4 minutes.
Add in a 24 ounce can of squished whole tomatoes (you will need to do the squishing part before adding). Stir to combine. Next, add in 1/4 cup of mild chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, and 2 teaspoons of dried oregano.
Now add in two more cups of chicken stock, bring the pot to a simmer and then reduce the heat. Allow it all to simmer for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the cooked chicken and continue cooking it for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
To make the mac n' cheese first cook a box of pasta (I used rigatoni) according to the package directions. Drain and then return to the pot. Add in about a 1/4 cup of butter and a 1/2 cup of cream. Stir in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Keep stirring until the cheese melts and evenly coats the pasta. Add in about 2 cups of the chili and stir to combine.