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LADLING UP A FANCIFUL CHICKEN CHILI

Al Yeganeh, the "Soup Man" of Soup Kitchen International, makes both chicken chili and turkey chili. This recipe is adapted from a turkey chili recipe that he prepared on the "Late Show With David Letterman," but you could substitute turkey stock and one small turkey for the chicken.

When you make it, you will understand why Yeganeh has to work as hard as he does and sleep as little as he does. But once you have all the ingredients on hand, it is not really difficult.

CHICKEN CHILI

For stock:

6 cups chicken stock or broth

1 small onion, cut in half

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 sticks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh oregano

2 bay leaves

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

2 whole chickens, about 3 1/2 pounds each, giblets removed

For soup:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large red onions, finely diced

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 large carrot, diced

3 medium-sized cooked potatoes, peeled and lightly mashed

3 tablespoons high-quality chili powder

3 tablespoons chipotle puree, see note

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon Spanish paprika

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups peeled, diced, seeded tomatoes

3 cups cooked kidney beans

1 green pepper, diced

1/2 fresh sweet red pepper, diced

1/2 fresh sweet yellow pepper, diced

1/4 cup red wine

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

3 cups finely diced cooked chicken (see above)

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh mustard greens

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

1 teaspoon wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tabasco sauce, optional

1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional
Place stock or broth, onion, carrots, celery, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns and chicken in stockpot and add enough cold water to cover chicken. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken. When cool enough to handle, remove bones, discard skin, reserve meat and return bones to stockpot. Cover and continue cooking for another 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Strain.

Heat oil in a clean, large soup pot. Add onions and garlic, sauteing until onions are translucent. Add celery, carrot and potatoes. Sweat, covered, over medium heat for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.

Add chili powder, chipotle puree, cumin, paprika and cinnamon, cooking over low heat for 10 minutes and stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, 6 cups of the stock, beans, peppers, wine, and cilantro and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add chicken, mustard greens, corn and vinegar. (There will be leftover chicken; add a little more if you like, or save it to make another kind soup such as chicken-dumpling or chicken-noodle. Leftover broth may also be saved for that purpose.)

Cook for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, Tabasco and lemon, if desired. Serve with 1 or 2 of these garnishes: fresh guacamole, low-fat sour cream mixed with yogurt, chopped scallion and cilantro, grated Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced red onion, chopped hard-boiled egg.

Note: Chipotle puree may be made by soaking dried, roasted chipotle peppers in water and pureeing them.

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