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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White Chili - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Aunt Suzy says . . . .

White Chili – delicious but not widely known!  When I moved to Minnesota from the San Francisco Bay area years ago, my co-workers threw me a going away party. They were instructed to bring a gift that would either remind me of  California or prepare me for Minnesota.  One of the gifts was a box of white food designed to introduce me to the cuisine of Minnesota – things like marshmallow fluff, mayonnaise, white rice, etc.  This was a hoot, but I didn’t think much further about it until my first week in Minnesota when I found myself in a Lund’s restaurant on a chilly day with my new Minnesota co-workers.  I saw chili on the menu and thought it sounded perfect.  When I ordered it, the server asked me if I wanted the white chili or the red chili – white chili?  Of course, I had to order the white given my white food gift and I loved it! I had never heard of white chili before, but I knew I had arrived in Minnesota.  This is an adaptation of the dish I first had 17 years ago!

Cooks Notes:  This recipe calls for chicken or turkey broth and chicken or turkey meat.  It is easily made meatless or vegetarian by substituting mock chicken broth powder+water for the broth and omitting the meat.  I almost always make this with canned beans, using a combination of great northern and cannellini.  Today, I decided to start with dried beans, same combination.  What a delightful difference in flavor – but then it takes extra time.  Either way, this freezes well so make a bunch!

Ingredients

1 pound dried or 3 15-ounce cans white beans

6-8 cups chicken or turkey stock OR water with mock chicken broth powder

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 medium yellow or white onions

4-6 cloves garlic

2-3 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles

2-3 cups cooked chicken or turkey, diced (omit for meatless or vegetarian)

Garnish: sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, diced seeded tomato, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips

Preparing the Dried Beans

Put dried beans in a pot and cover with 3 inches of filtered water.  Bring to a boil, turn off heat and let sit for 45 minutes.  Drain the beans and then put them in a large soup pot or dutch oven.   Add the broth – more or less depending on how thick you want the chili.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until beans are cooked, but not mushy.  Set the pot aside while you make the chili base.

Making the Chili

Coat a saute or frying pan with the vegetable oil.  Bring to medium-high heat and add the onions.  Saute, stirring , for 5-8 minutes until soft and starting to brown.  (Turn down the heat to medium after about 2 minutes)  Add the garlic and saute 1 minute, then add the cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper and saute 1 more minute.  Add the diced green chiles and saute for 2 more minutes.  Add this mixture to the pot of white beans/broth.  Put the pot back on the burner, bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  If the chili is soupier than you want, you can simmer with the lid off for part of all of the 30 minutes to thicken and concentrate the flavors.  Otherwise, simmer covered.  IF USING CANNED BEANS: Follow the saute instructions, but in a soup pot or dutch oven.  Add the broth and canned beans, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Finishing and Serving the Chili

When ready to serve, add the chicken or turkey meat.  Stir and heat until serving temperature, but don’t bring to a boil again. Ladle into bowls.

Place the garnishes on the table so people can add the things they want to their individual bowls.  Serve with Orange and Avocado Salad and Harvey Cornbread.

Orange & Avocado Salad

Chop 1 head romaine lettuce.  Make a dressing of olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Toss with the lettuce, then place on a platter.  Peel 2 oranges with a knife, cutting off all rind and pith.  Slice and cut each slice into quarters.  Arrange over the lettuce.  Place 3 slices of red onion cut into half moons and one sliced avocado on top of the lettuce.  Drizzle with a little more dressing.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.