Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tanya Tucker’s Chicken Chili

Chili is one of my favorite foods in the Universe, so I know I’m gonna like a cookbook that features more than one recipe for it - and this book has no less than 7. I already have a few variations that I love, but I won’t hesitate to try a new chili recipe, especially one from Country Music Sweet Heart, Tanya Tucker. She says it: “Cleans your teeth, curls your hair, and makes you feel like a millionaire,” and I must agree!

There was no way I could pass up this book, being a huge fan of country music and vintage cookery. From the down-home recipes, to the bio snippets, to the very, very 80s portrait photography, it is a hoot and a holler. I found several recipes to try, and I even found a few I’d seen before under different names! (I will certainly need to try Dolly Parton's Apple Stack Cake, Kenny Rogers' Country Chicken Salad, The Oak Ridge Boys' Lasagne, and Tom T. Hall's Watermellon Wine!) Oh, the joy that 99 cents can still bring.

From “Cooking with Country Music Stars” (1986) comes this yummy chicken chili, which I have made exactly as described here, and also another time using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken leftovers; both were divine. And although shops in California don’t often carry Ro-Tel, you can always find some type of canned tomato and chili mixture if you poke around. Note that Ms. Tucker kindly includes the amount of Sweet-n-Low you’d need to use, if you so desired. I guess that means she likes both kinds of music: Country AND Western!

Tanya Tucker’s Chicken Chili

1-2 onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1 10-ounce can Ro-Tel tomatoes (canned tomatoes and chilies)
1 ½ cups stewed tomatoes
3-4 cups kidney beans (better with homemade beans)
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1 tsp sugar (or 1 packet Sweet-n-low)
¼ cup dry red wine
3 Tbsp chili powder (add more if you like)
4 chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp sherry
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups chicken broth (if chili is too hot)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in shortening until tender. Add Ro-Tel and stewed tomatoes, kidney beans, salt, bay leaf, sugar, wine and chili powder. Simmer together for 1 hour.

Boil chicken breasts for 1 hour in water seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. Drain and reserve broth. Remove skin from cooked chicken and shred by hand or in a food processor. Add to tomato and bean mixture. Simmer to 1 hour. Add sherry and Worcestershire sauce. Add chicken broth if desired for consistency and taste.

Serves “a bunch.”


  1. Looks and sounds delicious! Do you think we could use a CROCK POT for it? You know, the crock pot I bought at Target and you got one at Thrift Town? ;)

  2. How fabulous. I love Tanya Tucker. We have a similar cookbook that's cowboy recipes from famous cowboy stars. Love it!

  3. Sparkleneely: YES I'm sure you could! I am still using my crock pot all the time, even found an original instruction book for it at the flea market!

    Tasha: yes, that book is just fab, I'll be featuring lots more from it. Tanya has a few recipes in there, though this is the best.