Using fermented vegetables in meal preparation is as easy as opening a can of vegetables or a bag of frozen vegetables except that your food is alive, nutrient-dense, and you know what went into it. Fermented foods are truly a convenience food: Once you have a few key ferments on hand, you have an infinite number of meal starters.
This chili uses Fermented Green Chile Salsa that is not only salsa but is also incredible when added to beans or grains for a wonderful southwestern flavor. While making this simple chili requires some planning ahead—as you will need to start soaking the beans the day before—when it comes to the crunch time of a daily meal, it involves very little time to prepare.
Because the fermented chili base is added after the chili has been taken off the stove, it lends a bright, fresh flavor to the dish. You can adjust the amount of chili base you add to fine tune the heat to your liking. The basic green chili base has a medium heat that we think makes comfortable chili for most people. For more of a fire-engine flavor, garnish individual bowls with your favorite fermented hot sauce.
Green Chile Chicken Chili
- Pick over the beans to remove any stray bits of debris, and then place the dry beans in a bowl. In a separate pitcher, dissolve the baking soda in the water. Pour the water over the beans and let them soak at room temperature for 24 hours. Drain the beans and rinse them well.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Place the chicken thighs, skin side down, in the oil and sear until browned, about 8 - 12 minutes. Turn to sear the other side, another 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
- Add the onion to the pot and sauté until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and stir quickly to coat with the oil. Add the broth and return the chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil, skimming any foam off the beans if necessary. Then reduce the heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 3 hours.
- Remove the chicken thighs with a slotted spoon and allow them to cool. Remove the bones and skin and return the chicken meat to the chili. Stir in the fermented chili base and serve hot.