Chicken Heart Chili

Not too long ago, Dave came home from work with a huge, present-bearing smile, and revealed a plastic butcher bag of raw capon hearts.

Needless to say, this was unexpected. It was also a delight – on my list of things-to-make was chicken heart chili.


Chicken Heart Chili | One Wooden Spoon

Though chicken hearts were an integral part of my childhood, I’m just coming back to them now. Reasons for this include: chicken hearts are super cheap ($2/lb from the butcher, nbd), boneless, and lean pieces of meat. Also: they’re already bite-sized. Also: they’re popping up on trendy restaurant menus (in TO, for instance, you can get duck hearts here for $1/heart).

But I think we can all agree that in general, North America is not enamoured by the chicken heart. When I started to prep for this recipe, I googled “Chicken Heart Chili” and got instead a ton of recipes for “Chicken Heart-Healthy Chili.” Well, this is not that; chicken hearts are relatively high in cholesterol. So I adapted one of my mum’s chili recipes, and made some cornmeal muffins, and bam: delicious, hearty, healthy (if you don’t have to watch your cholesterol), and super affordable dinner with the best name since Pasta with Fresh Sausage Sauce.

Chicken Heart Chili | One Wooden Spoon

Note: If the chicken heart thing really freaks you you, just sub in 1-inch pieces of chicken, beef or turkey, or the equivalent of ground meat. It’s still going to be really good chili.

Chicken Heart Chili | One Wooden Spoon

Chicken Heart Chili

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lb chicken hearts (or equivalent of cubed or ground chicken, turkey or beef)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • red chili flakes, to taste
  • 3 cans beans (red, white and/or black), drained
  • 1 can tomatoes


1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meat, onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until browned.

2. Add the spices, stirring until combined. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes.

3. Add beans and tomatoes. Increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially, and let simmer for 3 hours. Taste periodically, adjusting seasoning to taste. Serve with cornmeal muffins or rice.

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