The first time I made Hawaiian Chicken Chili I was competing in a Chili Cook-off. I wanted a recipe that forced people to think outside of the box. A recipe that challenged their definition of chili. Well, I succeeded. My entry finished dead last. What can I say? They wanted Hormels™ and I gave them Twilight Zone. Break out your shorts, your straw hats and those flower shirts. Try Hawaiian Chicken Chili today!
Thoughts About Ingredients
The ingredients of our Hawaiian Chicken Chili are a testament to the word alternative. I use Chana Dal instead of white beans. I use homemade broth instead of store bought chicken broth. ( see my article SOUP BROTH – A MODERN TRAGEDY ) I add bacon to give the chili a pork element. I use serrano peppers because it is two or three times spicier than jalapeño peppers. So far, though, I have not strayed too far the core concept of chili.
Here is where I lose 90% of the audience. I add pineapple to my Hawaiian chili. Trust me; I have heard every comment from “…Are you nuts?” to “…I am not touching that crap with a ten-foot pole!”. However, pineapple is a favorite delicacy in many recipes. Think about pineapple on pizza or a grilled pineapple ring on top of a juicy burger. As a cook, I did not think twice about adding pineapple to chili. The rest of the world, on the other hand, finds this outrageous.
Hawaiian Chicken Chili Results
Regardless of the merits of using pineapple, here is a simple truth. As you eat a spoonful of this chili, you immediately taste the sweet flavor of the pineapple. Within seconds, though, the “heat” of peppers overwhelms your pallet. It is a delightful explosion of sweet and spicy. Other optional ingredients, like bell peppers, mushrooms or spinach, can be added to give this chili a nutritional boost of vitamins and minerals. In the end, the choice is yours. Stick with a traditional style or head over to the Twilight Zone with Spicy Hawaiian Chicken Chili.
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