The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a new series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!
On this week’s Chopped: Circus Spectacular episode, the competitors found nachos, chicken fingers, candy apples and baby corn in their entree baskets. All three remaining competitors chose to feature the chicken fingers in their dishes with the goal of reimagining the favorite kids’ food in an elevated way. This recipe for Spicy Mexican Chili with Chicken Finger Dumplings offers the same exact solution — it turns the chicken fingers into a south-of-the-border comfort food dish that the whole family can enjoy for dinner.
Before starting the stew, puree one of the two cans of pinto beans in the food processor. Next, start the stew by toasting chili powder in a bit of oil, then add a jar of salsa, broth and your pureed pinto beans, which will help thicken the liquid. Then add the remaining can of whole pinto beans with their liquid.
To make the chicken dumplings, start by removing the breading. Soak the meat in milk, and then break it into pieces. Next, add the chicken fingers to the bowl of a food processor along with an egg. Puree the chicken until it is chunky, and then stir in cornstarch to help thicken the mixture. After spooning out the dumplings into the hot broth, cover the pot and let the mixture simmer until the dumplings are cooked through. Then you are ready to serve. Garnish with dollops of sour cream and cilantro. What you get is a comforting Mexican-inspired stew that’s perfect for the season.
Get the Recipe: Spicy Mexican Chili with Chicken Finger Dumplings