Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's like an albino, but without the red eyes or the sunburn

In a house where we swear by a chili recipe that calls for 25+ lbs. of ground beef and another 10 lbs. of pork sausage, a bowl of white chili was about as rare a sight as an actual albino*.

Until now.  

White Bean and Chicken Chili
Inspired by the soup I had at a recent baking class**, and informed by a recipe in a McCormick spice ad, this takes maybe 45 minutes to prepare from start to finish.  You can serve it for a weeknight supper, and have the leftovers (if there are any) for lunch the next day. Or, make it the centerpiece of a weekend get together with friends.   The chicken is juicy and tender, and the beans and broth have a slow, warm, little kick from the combination of spices and onions.  Seriously good stuff.  This recipe serves 8-10 people, but can easily be halved if you want to make less.

Olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
Kosher salt and a little ancho chili powder
1 large onion, chopped, to make about 2 1/2 c.
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 more tsp. of ancho chili powder (depends how spicy you like it)
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
additional salt or smoked salt, to taste
3 cans white canellini or Great Northern white beans, drained and rinsed
1 quart chicken broth, homemade or low sodium

Heat about 1 Tbs. of olive oil in the bottom of a heavy dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat.  Sprinkle chicken cubes lightly with salt and chili powder.  Transfer half of the chicken to the pot, and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly seared but not necessarily cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove seared chicken to a bowl, and repeat with remaining chicken cubes. Set bowl aside.

Add a little more olive oil to the pot, and toss in the onions and the garlic.  Lower heat to medium, and cook, stirring once or twice, until softened and fragrant, about 4 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, combine the dry spices in a small bowl. Stir those into the onion-garlic mixture, and cook another minute, until things smell really yummy.

Add the chicken broth, beans, and reserved chicken back into the pot, and allow to simmer on medium low heat for at least 15-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve.

Garnish with chopped green onions, lightly crushed crispy tortilla strips, shredded cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Click to print this recipe!

* Reported by Wikipedia to be about one out of every 17,000 people.  Also occurs rarely in animals, such as this squirrel.  I say he still looks like he'd go to town on my peaches.  Grrr!

** Sadly, the soup was the highlight of the class, and we didn't get a recipe.  When I saw the ad, I decided it was worth a shot to try to adapt it and see what happened.  Needless to say, I'm quite happy about the results.


  1. i won't lie--i'm a red-meat chili gal, but i don't mind a chicken version every now and then. this sounds tasty and satisfying!

  2. Anyone who makes as much cream cheese frosting as you do had to be a red meat chili person. It kind of goes without sayin'!

  3. This was delicious! Even the boyfriend, who's a total red-meat-chili guy, loved it. Thanks!

  4. So glad to hear you liked it! Thanks for letting me know...