For the second year in a row, my job has organized a chili cook-off. Now, chili isn’t really my forte, and it’s not something that I make often or ever. But, ever since I got this Instant Pot I have gotten a lot more adventurous with my cooking. So, I figured “why not?”
I wanted to do something that was not only unique, but that had cultural significance. Living in South Florida, chili is not something that is really huge like it would be in a place like Texas. Plus, I have been cutting down on the red meat for health reasons and wanted a chicken chili. I had been working on some different variations of “Latin” inspired chilis when a lightbulb went off. We’re practically in the Caribbean…so why not make jerk chicken chili?
Sure enough, I wasn’t the first person to have thought of this, and I came across a great recipe to use as a starting point. Of course, the challenge became converting it into a pressure cooker recipe, but it worked out fairly well. I added a few adjustments of my own based on my own experiences eating Caribbean food in South Florida. And, I wound up winning First Place! Woohoo!
One thing to note is that I made this chili in a 6qt pressure cooker and had a lot of issues with it coming to pressure that I suspect may have been from the pressure cooker being too full. So, the bottom would start to scorch before the pot could actually come to pressure. If you have an 8qt pressure cooker, I think that you will be fine, but if you’re using a 6qt or smaller than I recommend scaling the recipe down to avoid this issue.
UPDATE 3/19/2017: As a test, I halved the recipe and cooked it in my 6qt pressure cooker, and still had the same issue where the pot would not come to pressure before the bottom would scorch. Once I scraped the burnt bits from the bottom of the pot, it started to simmer pretty furiously and the pot pressurized after I sealed it again. So, the trick seems to be bring the chili to a simmer prior to sealing so that it will come to pressure. Also, scotch bonnet peppers vary in heat by color. I used an orange one in my first batch and a red one in my second batch, and it was SO MUCH hotter. So, choose your peppers wisely.
I got my ingredients together, including the tiny atomic bomb known as a scotch bonnet pepper. Scotch bonnet pepper is a key component of Jamaican jerk, so of course it needs to be included in jerk chicken chili! I mixed all of the spices and seasonings together to form a paste to make it easier to add in later.
First, you want to cook your beans. While they are cooking, prep all of your veggies so that they are ready to go.
Once the beans are done, drain and set aside.
Saute your veggies until soft, then add your seasoning paste. Add the tomatoes, beans, and chicken. I added the tomatoes last in this case, but I would recommend adding those before the beans and chicken. Then, seal the pot and cook on Beans/Chili setting or on High for 30 minutes.
Let the pressure release naturally, then open and remove the chicken. Set the pot to Saute to reduce the chili to the desired thickness, then shred your chicken and return to the pot. Stir in the scallions.
I served this jerk chicken chili with mango salsa and plantain chips for dipping, but it also tastes good over rice or scooped up with naan or roti. It’s great on its own as well. This can be made on the stovetop or slow cooker with some adjustments if you don’t have a pressure cooker. It will just take a bit longer. You can also save some time by using canned beans instead of dried.
Pressure Cooker Jerk Chicken Chili
- 3 lbs bone-in chicken legs and thighs
- 14oz dried red chili beans
- 1/2 cup jerk seasoning (I used Mild. Use Hot at your own risk!)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, de-seeded minced (keep the seeds if you like extra spicy)
- 1½ tsp all-spice
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 cup chopped scallion
- 2 15oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes (or 1 28oz can also works)
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- salt and pepper to taste
Add the beans to the inner bowl of the pot with 4 cups of water. Cover and set the pressure valve to Sealing. Cook on Manual (High Pressure) for 17 minutes, then allow the pressure to release naturally. Drain and set aside. In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the jerk seasoning, ginger, allspice, paprika, thyme, cumin, cinnamon, chili powder, molasses, liquid smoke, soy sauce, and salt and pepper so that it forms a loose paste.
Clean the inner bowl (or, use a new bowl) and set the cooker to Saute/Brown setting. When hot, add the vegetable oil and saute the onions and peppers until they start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and continue to saute until fragrant, then add the spice paste and stir until it coats the vegetables. Add the tomtatoes, beans, chicken/vegetable stock, and chicken. Stir to combine.
Turn off the pressure cooker, cover and set the release valve back to Sealing, and set to Beans/Chili function (or Manual High for 30 minutes). When the timer runs out, allow the pressure to release naturally.
Once the pressure has been release, open the pot and remove the chicken using tongs and shred it with a form. Set the cooker back to the Saute setting and cook until the chili until it is reduced to your liking, then return the shredded chicken to the pot. Stir in the chopped scallions. Serve the jerk chicken chili immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to consume.