chicken white bean chili

Aunt Suzy says . . .

We love making this recipe for White Chili, something I learned when I moved to Minnesota 20+ years ago. It’s in both of our regular rotations in the fall/winter season. So it caught my attention when my friend Ruth brought a different version of “white” chili to a gathering recently. I thought it was delicious so asked her to share the recipe. This variation on white chili is from the Neelys, a couple I enjoy seeing on their Food Network show. They are a lot of fun to watch cook as they share recipes for good home cooking.  “White” is stretching it a little with this recipe which uses ground red chili, but it is a close relative of our original and I think it’s delicious. We served it with Harvey Cornbread and a “winter ale”.  What did you and your family think, Margaux?

Margaux says . . .

I think this is my new favorite chili recipe! I love how easy it was to make, because I used canned beans and a rotisserie chicken, which made it a snap. It was also very easy to adapt for my vegetarian: I made it with vegetable broth, and then took out a couple of servings for my veggie son, and then added the chicken for the rest of us. One thing I did differently than the recipe was mashing 1/4 cup of the beans before adding them to the chili as a thickener…I found it to be a little soupy for my family. We like our chili thick. We also like to load our chili up, too, so I served it with sour cream, shredded Monterey jack, chopped avocado, and crushed tortilla chips. It was a hit!

Chicken and White Bean Chili

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups dried white beans OR 2 small (14.5 ounce) cans -navy, great northern or cannelini (AS used dried navy beans, M used canned cannelini)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced

2 medium poblano peppers, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1/2-1 chipole chili in adobo sauce, rinsed and chopped

4-6 cups chicken broth (mock chicken broth, Better than Bouillon no chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian)

juice of 2 limes

2-3 cups cooked chicken, cubed, omit for vegetarian

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

lime wedges

Sliced avocado, optional

Sour cream, optional

Crushed corn chips, optional

Directions – preparation

If using dried beans, brine/soak the beans: Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt in 3 quarts of cold water.  Add the beans and soak overnight.  Alternatively, you can bring the beans, salt and water to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Less time for smaller beans, more for larger. In either case, drain the beans and rinse well. Set aside.

If using canned beans: Drain and rinse the beans.  Set aside.

Blend the spices:  Put the cumin, coriander and ground chili in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Set aside.

Prepare the chicken: If using rotisserie chicken, take the meat off the bone and remove the skin.  Or bake 1 or more chicken breasts (skin-on/bone-in) at 375 for 40 minutes. Let cool, then take meat off the bone and remove the skin. In either case, shred or cut into cubes for desired amount. AS used the meat from one (largish) chicken breast which equaled 2 cups. M used meat from one small rotisserie chicken which also equaled 2 cups.

Directions – making the soup

Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat and add the oil. When shimmering, add the onions and peppers and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two and then add the spice blend plus the chipotle pepper. Stir for a minute or so to toast the spices. Stir in the broth and the beans. Stir to blend, bring to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer. If using dried beans, simmer for 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the bean until cooked firm, but not mushy.  Start checking at 20 minutes and then check every 10 minutes thereafter. (The navy beans were cooked in 30 minutes.) If using canned beans, simmer 20-30 minutes. In either case, you can mash or blend part of the beans to create a thicker chili, per Margaux’s message above.

Taste the soup. Add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust the spices if necessary. Stir in the lime juice and chicken and bring back to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.

Directions – serving the soup

Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Pass the cilantro and lime wedges, along with the sour cream, crushed corn chips and/or avocado slices if using.

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Winter Vegetable Minestrone

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

The Wall Street Journal ran this article a few weeks ago on Minestrone, including 3 delicious-looking recipes.  I love making Minestrone and the message and recipes here expanded my thinking as to what this soup is all about.  I love the quote “But minestrone is, ultimately, a hyper-personal and hyper-seasonal chameleon of a dish, tailored to the current harvest and the cravings of the maker. This soup embodies better than any other the enviable Italian virtue known as sprezzatura: an artful effortlessness.”  When Randy and I were talking Sunday morning about what we’d like for dinner, he said he had bought the ingredients for this soup. I had planned to make roasted salmon, potatoes and broccoli, but given I had a cold, the Minestrone sounded way more appealing.  Plus I didn’t have to cook – what’s not to like?! We both had seconds of this! Like many “ugly duckling” soups and stews that we’ve posted before (like this, this this and this), don’t let the bland look turn you away – this is one delicious soup, made even better by the unusual pesto.

Guest chef Randy Tatum says . . . 

This recipe looked like an interesting use of seasonal ingredients, including celery root which I don’t cook with enough. I thought the soup could use even more winter vegetables, so I added rutabaga. I found this easy to make, even if it takes a little chopping. It’s one of those dishes that can really be flexible in terms of ingredients and quantities. Unlike Suzy, who always has flavorful homemade chicken stock in the freezer, I take a rather relaxed approach to creating a stock for my soups. It’s called Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base and is a more than acceptable substitute. I often use their “No-Chicken Base”, which tastes just as good but is vegetarian.  The pesto is indeed unusual and I agree that it really adds to the finished product. 

The Winter Vegetable Minestrone

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium celery root, peeled and cubed

1 large parsnip, peeled and cubed

1 large rutabaga, peeled and cubed

4-5 (or more) cups chicken stock (or Better Than Bouillon per their instructions to equal 4-5 cups)

2 bay leaves

1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained

1½ cups yellow split peas

4 (or more) cups shredded cabbage

1 small apple, peeled and cubed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the yellow split peas in a small saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once oil is warm, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook till fragrant.  Stir in celery root, parsnip and rutabaga, cooking until fragrant, another 5 minutes. Add the stock, bay leaves, beans, split peas, cabbage and apple. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot and simmer gently until celery root, parsnips and rutabaga soften, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The Pesto, Pasta and Final Assembly

8 ounces whole wheat pasta, small shapes (we used fusilli/spirals)

1 cup leafy greens – spinach, kale or chard (we used spinach), coarsely chopped

½ cup toasted pecans, chopped (we used roasted/salted)

¼ cup fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped

2 whole garlic cloves, peeled

¼ cup olive oil

Cook the pasta to al dente according to instructions.  Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, make the pesto. In a food processor, purée the greens, pecans, rosemary, whole garlic cloves, oil and a pinch of salt until mixture is reduced almost to a paste. Turn into a serving dish.

To serve, place desired amount of pasta into a soup bowl. Ladle as much soup as you want onto the pasta. Place a dollop of the pesto onto the soup and stir to blend. Enjoy!

Tuscan Bean Stew - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Aunt Suzy says . . .

We are having a real Minnesota winter this year! A recent Sunday plunged to minus 14 degrees F, necessitating a hearty and warming stew. I spied this recipe on The Bitten Word blog, saw that it was their take on a Cook’s Illustrated recipe and was sold! It’s one of those recipes from Cook’s where they have experimented with many different methods to come up with the perfect approach. For this one, the recommendation was to brine the beans overnight and to cook slowly in the oven to achieve a creamy stew in which the beans remain mostly whole. We love Cook’s scientific approach to things here at S&SK and so jumped on this recipe. It turned out as promised! Margaux and I both cooked this, as well as my brother John, so we have lots of experience and opinions to share on this stew. We may have diverged a little on ingredients or methods, but one thing we all three have in common is that we thought this was delicious!

Margaux says . . .

The whole family loved this stew…even my 4-year-old, who has recently decided he is a picky eater. But picky in a way most kids are not…he’ll refuse to eat his mac & cheese, and instead gobble down a salad. And lately, anything I make that has everything “mixed together,” ie., stews, soups, casseroles, etc…basically everything I make in the winter…is deemed inedible. Or as he says, “gross.” But I thought I might have a “win” on my hands here, with beans, sausage and carrots included in the ingredients (some things on the “ok” list), and I was right.

Something I will say about this stew, is that if you have a big client meeting the next morning, or are going on a date the next night, I would definitely cut back on the garlic. We love garlic in our house, but even for us, 8 cloves was a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious! And I’ll make it the same way again next time. But just a warning…your date may wonder if you’re trying to fend off vampires if you eat this the night before. 🙂

Brining the Beans

2 cups dried cannellini beans, picked over and rinsed

3 tablespoons salt (sea salt or table salt, not kosher)

4 quarts cold water

Dissolve the salt in the water in a large bowl or pot. Add the beans and soak overnight or up to 24 hours. Drain the beans and rinse thoroughly. Set aside for use in the stew.

Making the Stew

3/4-1 pound of sweet Italian sausage (casings removed or bulk if available)

2 tablespoons EV olive oil

1 large onion, medium dice (1 1/2-2 cups)

2 celery ribs, medium dice (about 3/4 cup)

2 carrots, peeled and diced medium (about 1 cup)

8 medium garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press or crushed with a knife blade

4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

3-4 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 small can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed

1/2 medium head of Savoy cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)

One sprig of fresh oregano

Salt and black pepper to taste (taste before adding salt)

Pre-heat the oven to 250°F. In a large Dutch oven, preferably cast iron, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, breaking up into small pieces with a spatula or wooden spoon. When browned, remove from the pot and place on paper towel. Set aside.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pot and turn heat down to medium. Add the onions, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook till fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock, water, bay leaves and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to a bubble. Cover the pot and place on a rack in the lower middle of the pre-heated oven. Cook for about 45 minutes or so, until beans are just softened but slightly firm in the center.  Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the reserved sausage, cabbage and tomatoes. Place back in the oven and cook for another 30-45 minutes or so, until the cabbage is tender.

Tuscan Bean Stew

Remove pot from the oven and submerge the oregano sprig in the stew. Cover and let stand 20-30 minutes. Remove the oregano and bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a little drizzle of olive oil if desired and a nice crusty bread.

COOK’S NOTES – Aunt Suzy:Ingredients The original recipe called for 1 1/2 pounds of sausage. I used 1 pound (of turkey sausage) and thought it was still too much, although I prefer meat in recipes like this for flavoring vs. a main ingredient. I used 3 cups of water, but my stew came out very thick so I think I’ll try 4 cups next time I make it.  Adjust meat amount and liquid to your preferences. I used a garlic press for my garlic, which I think resulted in a less garlicky result than Margaux described; she crushed the garlic with a knife blade (although I love garlic, so I might try that one day!). Regular green cabbage can be substituted if you can’t find Savoy. The original CI recipe called for pancetta and kale – I think we need to try that one also!  Methods I learned 3 things from this recipe: 1) The brining made for ultra-creamy beans as promised, 2) Cooking in the oven at a low temp made for beans that did not break apart, and 3) Adding tomatoes later in the cooking process insured that the skins of the beans were not tough.

COOK’S NOTES – Margaux: I made this on a weeknight, but I prepped everything ahead of time on Sunday, so it made it very quick and easy. Otherwise, this is one that I would probably make on a weekend, because it does take awhile, and you have to remember to do the beans the night before, etc. So I soaked the beans, chopped the cabbage, carrots, onion and celery, and had them all stored in the fridge and ready for Tuesday night. Also, I only used 3 cups of water instead of 4, as we like our stews less brothy around here.

 

Pasta e Fagioli

December 31, 2011

Margaux says…

I think I’ve had enough meat and potatoes to last me a lifetime. I can’t believe those words are coming out of my mouth…I’m a total meat-and-potatoes kind of girl. But we had the most rich food over the holidays (like, for example, potatoes whipped with a stick of butter, 8 oz. cream cheese, and a cup of sour cream!), and then had them as leftovers, and I think I’ve really had enough.

I found this recipe last year on Food 52, and have made it a couple of times. It’s quick and easy, and very heartwarming. And you can easily make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon,  instead using 2 tbsp olive oil to saute the veggies, and vegetable broth or water in place of the chicken broth. We’re definitely going to be eating things like this for the next several weeks!!

Pasta e Fagioli
adapted from “Jenny’s in the Kitchen” blog on Food 52
serves 4-5

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small stalks celery
4 cups chicken broth
2 cans cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dittalini
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
grated Parmesan

1. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring until crisp. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and transparent. Add celery and cook another couple minutes. Add broth, salt and oregano and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

2. In a bowl mash 1 cup of the beans, then stir them into the onion mixture along with the remaining whole beans, tomatoes, and pasta. Simmer the soup, covered, for 15 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Then remove from heat and let stand, still covered, for 5 minutes.

3. Stir in parsley and grated parmesan (I used about 1/4 cup). Serve with crusty bread.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

When it’s -5 degrees F when I wake up, soup comes to mind!  I’ve been fairly obsessed with soup these days.  We’re having a colder and snowier than normal winter here in Minnesota which means soups and stews have a prominent place on our menu.  I was looking for a new recipe yesterday and found this one in a cookbook on my shelf –  A Good Day for Soup.  It caught my attention because I don’t think I’ve ever made a soup with broccoli and our sage plant is going wild with new leaves.  I made a couple of adaptations to the recipe, taking a page from the White Bean and Rosemary soup recipe we posted in the fall.  Specifically, I made a sage oil to drizzle over the finished soup and served the soup over pasta.   Like that soup, this one can be made vegetarian by using 100% water rather than a combination of water and chicken stock.  We served this with a salad, baguette and a flavorful Pinot Grigio, which paired beautifully.

The Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, small dice

1 large or 2 small carrots, small dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

1 1/2 cups dried white beans (cannellini, great northern or navy) or 2 15-ounce cans cooked beans

5 cups chicken stock (homemade or low sodium purchased broth) plus 5 cups water (or 10 cups water for vegetarian)

1 piece Parmiggiano Reggiano rind, about 2″ x 2″ square (optional)

1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/2 pounds), stems peeled and all cut into small pieces

1 cup chopped sundried tomatoes, oil packed or dry

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Cooked small pasta – shells, elbow macaroni, etc. –  for serving (optional)

*Sage oil for serving (optional)

If using dried beans: Prepare the dried beans by soaking overnight or using the quick-soak method (place in a pot, cover by 3 inches with water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let sit for an hour).  Prepare the soup base by sauteing the onion and carrot in the olive oil for about 5 minutes in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two.  Add the sage and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the liquid and the prepared dried beans.  Bring to a boil, add the parmesan rind, turn down the heat and simmer for 40-60 minutes till the beans are done but not mushy. If using dry sundried tomatoes (which I recommend), add the chopped tomatoes in the last 10 minutes of cooking.  (If using oil-packed sundried tomatoes, rinse and pat dry before chopping, then add along with the broccoli.)  Add the broccoli, bring back to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes.   Check after 5 minutes – the broccoli was cooked to our taste after that time.  Stir in the parsley just before serving.

If using canned beans: Create the soup base, add the liquid and the cheese rind and simmer this for 30 minutes to develop flavor before adding the canned beans and the sun dried tomatoes.  Then cook for another 10 minutes before adding the broccoli.

To serve the soup: Place a little pasta in the bottom of the soup bowls.  Ladle the soup over the pasta and drizzle with a little sage oil.

*The Sage Oil

1 garlic clove sliced

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

4 tablespoons good quality EV olive oil

Place these ingredients in a small pan over medium heat.  Keep the pan on the heat until the oil starts to bubble.  Remove from heat and let sit 15-30 minutes.  Strain into a small bowl for serving.

Aunt Suzy says

Another great no-cook recipe to beat the heat!  Salon.com has a recipe contest every week called Kitchen Challenge.  Two weeks ago the theme was “your tastiest raw tomato dishes” and this recipe was chosen as the best.  It caught my eye because it used many of my favorite ingredients all put into a sandwich – and it comes with a great story!   This is the second time we’ve made it – and we might make it again this summer as long as the tomatoes are so delicious.   This is one of those recipes that you can add or subtract the ingredients you use to your taste.  For example, we did not use the hard-boiled egg and we added sliced Hungarian peppers to give it a little zing.

I know that many people are growing and buying heirloom varieties (which I love), but I must say a classic red, round homegrown tomato will be the ticket for this recipe.  We served it with both a Spanish Rose wine (last time) and yesterday with a white Cotes du Rhone.

Sliced ripe tomato

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Italian tuna packed in olive oil

Cooked cannellini beans

Green or black olives (or a combo), sliced in half

Thinly sliced red onion

Fresh mint and basil leaves

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Crusty sourdough or ciabatta (rolls or loaf)

Slice the bread in half and toast to desired doneness.  Sprinkle each side with a little olive oil.  Put all or some of the ingredients on the bread in any order that you want.  Dig in!!

Here’s a pic of my sandwich using a sourdough roll from Trader Joe’s.

And below is a photo of Randy’s sandwich on ciabatta.  We agreed that we liked the ciabatta better, but both were good.