Masa harina is so much fun to use (not to mention, delicious). It’s mostly simply used in making homemade corn tortillas, but it can be used in corn cakes, to thicken soups and chilis, pancakes, muffins – whatever. It’s pretty versatile and adds that unmistakable corn/tortilla flavor to everything.
One of the first things I decided to make with my newer bag was dumplings. Because dumplings are basically cures for the winter blues. I’m pretty sure I read that in a science journal.
For the base of the chili, I essentially used this recipe but made it heartier by using more chicken (also, switching to thighs) and less broth. As for the masa dumplings, I already made them as part of a different recipe, so I used those.
This was a big hit with everyone, and I look forward to making it again (and again). The leftovers were also great (yes, the dumplings do get kind of soggy but that doesn’t bother me at all and my husband even remarked that “anything you make with masa is good but for some reason this leftover chili was really good.”)
Chicken Chili with Masa Harina Dumplings
Dumplings adapted from Gourmet
1 Tbsp. neutral oil
1.5 lbs. boneless/skinless chicken thighs
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle in adobo, minced (optional)
1 (15 oz. can) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chili powder (I used a combo of New Mexican and Ancho; see note below)*
1 Tbsp. cumin
3 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans/drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
3/4 cup masa harina
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper, a few turns
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 Tbsp. sliced chives
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then brown for 2 minutes per side in the hot oil, in batches if necessary. Remove the chicken.
To the pot, add the onion (if necessary, add a bit more oil). Cook until onion is softened. Add the garlic and chipotle, if using; saute for 30 seconds. Stir in the diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, a pinch of salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook for about 1 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you want to make a smoother and thicker chili, add 1 cup of the broth at this point and use an immersion blender to smooth the mixture.
Add the chicken broth (2 or 3 cups, depending on whether you’ve already added some to process the mixture) and beans. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices t the post. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken and dice into bite sized pieces. Add back into the chili along with the corn and heat through. Taste the chili and adjust seasoning.
To make the dumplings: Stir together the masa harina, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Cut in the butter with 2 forks or a pastry blender, until it resembles a coarse meal. Add buttermilk and chives, stirring just until moistened (don’t overmix).
Drop dumplings by the tablespoon-full into the pot, about 2 inches apart. Reduce heat to low. Wrap a clean kitchen towel around the lid of the pot, and then cover the chili. Simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes, or until dumplings are firm to the touch.
*Note: For the chili powder, I highly suggest using a pure chili powder – that is a specific kind of ground up chili vs. commercial “chili powder.” There is nothing wrong with standard chili powder, but it is typically a mix that contains cumin and sometimes oregano or other spices. If you use regular chili powder, I would probably increase the amount and decrease the cumin.