I finally got it right!
This is one of those recipes that pre-paleo, my family ate often--which is saying a lot since we rarely ate the same dish twice. Of course, pre-paleo, this recipe required that I fry the cubed up boneless chicken in italian salad dressing, and it was chock-full of white navy beans.
When I first switched to a paleo-type diet, I tried really hard to convert this recipe to something I could still eat. I tried to "paleoify" it several times, several ways, and each time the results were less-than-great. Without the salad dressing, the flavour was flat. Without the beans, the chili was thin and watery--not very sustaining at all. But when I tried to fill the chili out with turnip or celery root, the taste of root vegetables overwhelmed the delicate flavour of this dish. When I filled out the dish with green peppers, the texture went all wrong. Everything about it just went wrong.
Until the other day.
It suddenly dawned on me to try it one more time--and this time I think it tastes just like the old recipe, only without all the crap that I no longer eat.
There's something really delicious about green chili. Even though it is much more mellow than traditional chili, it can still be quite fiery, and is much more about the unique flavour of cilantro upfront. The flavour is so delicate that only chicken will do, as far as I'm concerned.
So give it a try, and let me know what you think. I use bone-in chicken in the recipe, but you could just as easily de-bone the chicken first. I just find that wasteful, personally, since boiling the meat off of the bone gets the bones cleaner, and allows you some of the benefits of the minerals in the bones, too.
You will notice that I use salsa verde and canned green chilis interchangeably. While I slightly prefer the taste of salsa verde in this recipe over canned green chilis, the two taste close enough to be used the exact same...
So here's what I did.
1 onion, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 lbs bone-in chicken (skinless--fry that chicken for cracklin's instead!)
2 cups chicken broth
1 green pepper, chopped
1 Tbs zesty italian dressing spice mix
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 cup salsa verde (or 2 cans green chilies)
1/3 cup fresh or frozen cilantro
optional garnishes: cheddar, yogurt, olives, avocado
On medium heat in heavy dutch oven, saute onion, celery and parsnips in fat until onions are translucent. Add spices and cook 1 minute more. Add chicken to pot, along with broth, salsa verde and vinegar. Add green pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1/2 hour until chicken is cooked through. Using tongs, carefully remove chicken from pot and de-bone it, returning chicken to pot to heat back through.
Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Garnish with cheddar, avocado, and plain yogurt, if using.