white chicken chili

…because the other day got up to 36-ish, it seemed like the best way to celebrate was to make chili at 11pm. it’s a staple recipe I got from lee when I was living in NYC, and it’s worth sharing. probably not in 36-degree weather, but I’ll leave that up to you.

NOTE: if your herbs/spices aren’t fresh, you are missing out.

you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp butter. yes, butter.
  • 2 tsp diced garlic
  • 1 large white onion, sliced thin (or sweet vidalia)
  • 2 celery stalks, ends trimmed, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes (can also mix 50/50 with thighs for a richer flavour)
  • 3 cups chicken stock – bonus points for using fresh, but they’re a pain in the ass if you don’t plan in advance
  • 1 can white kidney beans
  • 2-3 fresh jalapeño peppers
  • 1/2 cup fresh, chopped cilantro

Chicken seasoning

  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp (good) chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper

Garnish

  • 1/2 lb old cheddar cheese (aged 2yrs or more)
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips (we prefer the blue corn chips)
  • sliced baguette, to wipe up the leftover goodness

In a large (4qt) casserole pot (you can use a sautée pan, too, it just means more clean up), melt butter over medium-high heat. Sautée diced garlic for 2-3 minutes; reduce heat to medium, add celery and onion, and sautée until tender (abt 5 min). Reduce heat to low, add white kidney beans (pro-tip, turn can upside-down and shake vigorously for 10s or so before opening to loosen the settled and sticking to the bottom beans) and chicken stock. Stir occasionally, ensuring mixture doesn’t boil strongly (slow boil/simmer is what you’re aiming for). The mixture will look watery. Don’t worry.

In a large mixing bowl (I prefer a large ziploc bag, as it simplifies things), combine chicken seasoning ingredients and mix well. Add cubed chicken to mixture and mix, ensuring chicken is well-coated.

Heat skillet/large fry pan on medium-high (about 300F). Add olive oil to skillet, and allow to heat (but not to smoking). Add coated chicken mixture to skillet and cook until done, turning often and breaking up clumped pieces often. Add cooked chicken to simmering stock mix.

Bring stock and chicken mixture to a slow boil (don’t go above medium heat, you’ve got time), and cook for approximately one hour, stirring often to help reduce the liquid. While the stock is cooking, broil or grill the jalapeño peppers until the skin is well-charred. Remove the charred skin, cut the peppers lengthwise, remove the seeds, and dice (note that you may want to use gloves for this, and you do not want to rub your eyes.) Set aside.

After the hour is up, reduce chili to a simmer, and add diced jalapeños to mixture (this is an optional step). Add the diced chilis to taste in small increments; you can increase the heat pretty quickly, and don’t want to add it all in one shot and potentially ruin things.

Simmer for an additional half-hour, and add diced cilantro to mixture. Simmer for an additional 15-30 minutes, and the mixture should thicken up nicely.

Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream and grated white cheddar. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro. Crunchy baguettes on the side are also recommended.

Done. Serves four-six.

2 thoughts on “white chicken chili

  1. Lisa Needham says:

    This chili is so amazing but always tastes better when someone else makes it for you – right honey? :)

  2. so no matter how it tastes for me, it always tastes better for you? that doesn’t seem fair…

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