The Ecphorizer

Chicken Chili for a Crowd
Tod Wicks

Issue 01 (September 2003)

serves up a hot recipe from a company cafeteria

The First Street Café is an on-site cafeteria at one of my employers.  I am pretty fond of chili and was pretty pleased with the Chicken Chili that was served at this cafeteria.  I wrote an email to the café manager asking about the recipe.  His response is copied below. 

...[we] did not use very much Tabasco.

If you’re going to feed a crowd at a potluck or cocktail party, this is just the thing.  Be sure to have plenty of beer and water on hand!


Many of the items at First Street Café do not come from a distinct and measured recipe.  The chicken chili you are so fond of is just one of those items.  However, the following recipe should be a rather close approximation to what was recently served.

2 Tablespoons butter
3 lbs cooked chicken (diced)
1/2 stalk celery (diced)
3 carrots (diced)
3 medium onions (diced)
3 green peppers (diced)
3 red peppers (diced)
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons cumin seed
3 tablespoons coriander seed
3 tablespoons ground chocolate
1 bunch cilantro (chopped)
5 cups canned diced tomato
1.5 gals chicken broth
5 cups cooked black beans (canned is fine)
Salt, Pepper and Tabasco to taste

  • Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Sauté the next six items until just soft.  Add chicken broth, tomato, and cilantro.  Bring to a boil.
  • While this is cooking, preheat an oven to 350 degrees.  Toast the cumin and coriander in the oven until you start to smell them.  At this point put the seed in a coffee grinder or food processor with the two bay leaves.  Grind until a fine powder forms.
  • Add this powder and the chocolate to the chili.  When the chili has reduced a bit, add the black beans and cook until the chili thickens.
  • Now, add salt, pepper and Tabasco to your own personal taste.  First Street did not use very much Tabasco.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.


Steve Z
Chef /Manager
First Street Café  

According to Linda Stradley at What's Cooking America*, chili is a distictively Texan dish whose origins might have been with local native American tribes. The essential proto-chili recipe was probably created by trail cooks working cattle drives. Today there are probably as many different recipes for a "bowl of red" as there are for barbecuing ribs, the other great American Southwest cooking sensation. The recipes for chili are classified into various heat ranges from mild to h-h-hot. These variations are then divided by the kind of meats used, whether or not beans are added (a heresy to many chili aficiondos), and other cultural additions. For many years my own personal favorite was one published in Consumer Reports ages ago. I like chili that is not too mild, not too hot, and the CU version is pretty mild though for many it is a good compromise. There are many recipe sites on the Internet that feature chili recipes such as, Recipe Source , All Recipes, and RecipeLand among others. I haven't had the time to try very many so I can't recommend beyond the CU recipe noted above.

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