Dark Side of Chicken Chili

The truth is obscured amid the luster and glisten, as unforeseen dangers lurk and beckon with luminescent allure.  The Holidays, much as is the case with anything held to the light of high regard, have a dark side.  A loud crash from the den yanked this realization to front of mind.


All discussion ceased.  The niggling nuances of travel arrangements and timing of travel and of travel preparation all evaporated with the cacophony breaking glass and cracking plastic.  At once, banal discussions of sleeping arrangements and petty recriminations over the minutiae of holiday celebrations vanished.   Neither of us spoke.  Mrs. Chili365 and I looked at one another and then looked down to where Chili Jr (then 2) had been seated by our feet.  As hearts raced and spirits sank, a tiny voice called out from the other room, “Uh, can I get a little help here.”


Metaphors are lost on two year olds.  If someone had told Chili Jr to reach for the stars, that is exactly what he set out to do- even if this meant scaling our teetering holiday tree.   Fortunately nothing was broken (nothing on Chili Jr.’s person anyway).  Mrs. Chili365 were able to reset the tree and resume bickering about the particulars of holiday family time.  As we admonished one another’s carelessness, somewhere in the dark corners of my mind I recalled telling Chili Jr. (at least 50 times) not to climb that tree.


Leg quarters are a delicious and underappreciated food.   While most fill fawn over chicken breast, I’m a dark meat guy.  I’ve made some great chicken thigh chili on the grill.  As the weather has turned colder, it is time to take the dark side of the chicken indoors and snuggle it up in a fancy chili stew.




3 chicken leg quarters

¾ C diced white onion

½ C diced, deseeded jalapeno

2 T chili powder

½ t coriander

½ t cumin

1 can (14.5 oz) Italian style diced tomatoes

1 C tomato sauce

1 T sriracha sauce




  1. In a pot, fry chicken leg quarters until cooked through or nearly cooked through.
  2. 2) Remove chicken from pan and set aside to cool.
  3. In the remaining fat, fry onions, jalapenos and seasonings until onions become soft and I nice thick paste is formed.
  4. Add tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, and srircha. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. While the chili is simmers, removes skin form chicken leg quarters then debone.
  6. Add the boneless meat to the chili.
  7. Simmer for 40 minutes.


Dark Side of Chicken Chili

Dark Side of Chicken Chili

Tasting Notes:


The recipe somewhat time consuming and manually demanding.  It this action doesn’t fit your scene, start with boneless skinless thighs.  You’ll miss out on the beautiful roux which results from frying the seasonings in chicken fat, but the dish won’t suffer too greatly for it.  The flavors in the chili stand up and stand out.  There is quite a bit of heat imparted by the jalapenos and sriracha, but the tender chicken and smooth tomato base help even things out.  This is a wonderful, chickenful chili for a cold, dark day.


Regarding the tree incident from over a decade ago, it has become totally legendary and remains totally hilarious, even if this fact wasn’t at all evident to the obnoxious ‘new’ parents.  We have, with time, lightened up.




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