White Bean & Chicken Chili

Cold snaps and football season call for chili, but I find so many recipes too heavy for my taste, even when I’m in the mood for a hearty, warming stew. Swapping out chicken for the traditional brisket or ground beef lightens things considerably; creamy white beans and mild, one-alarm seasoning keep things velvety-smooth and gentle enough for younger palates, but still interesting for grownups.

And while it might seem laborious to make your own chicken stock, this chili will give you good reason to stock your fridge. For the stock I used a whole chicken (plus extra necks, and backs leftover from spatchcocking) which yielded the shredded chicken for the chili (with leftovers for chicken salad lunches), and plenty of flavorful stock to freeze for future stews and Italian wedding soup. The chili freezes like a charm, too, if you’re planning ahead for game day or stocking up on quick weeknight meals; portion into quart or pint containers and defrost in the fridge overnight.

White Bean & Chicken Chili
adapted from “The Big Book of Chicken” by Maryana Vollstedt, 2008;
serves 6-8

  • 1 lb (2 C) dry Great Northern beans (or other similar)
  • 6 C low-sodium or homemade chicken stock, plus extra if needed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large stalks celery, diced
  • one small Poblano or Anaheim chile, diced
  • one small jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and minced (optional)
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • one 7 oz can of diced green chiles, preferably fire-roasted
  • 1/4 C cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2-3 C shredded chicken
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • diced onions, Monterey Jack cheese and/or sour cream for topping
  • green Tabasco or other verde hot sauce (optional)

Sort the beans to remove any debris and rinse well. Place in a large bowl with enough water to cover by 2″ and soak for 6 hours or overnight.

With enough olive oil to coat a heavy-bottomed dutch oven or soup pot, sweat the onion, garlic, and celery for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the jalapeno, Anaheim chile, white pepper, oregano and coriander and cook for another 3 minutes.

Over high heat, add the beans and 5 cups of stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partly covered, for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the canned green chiles, the chicken, cumin, cilantro and salt to taste. Continue to simmer 10 minutes, adding more stock if it’s too thick. Adjust your seasonings to your taste and serve with hot sauce, additional cilantro, shredded cheese and sour cream for garnish.

Note: I used an heirloom variety of dry beans from Rancho Gordo called “Snowcaps” that were wonderful here, but you can substitute canned beans and skip the soaking, if you like. Adding your salt towards the end of cooking will keep beans from toughening.

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About scarpettakate

Scarpetta Dolcetto celebrates simple, seasonal, scratch home cookery.
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17 Responses to White Bean & Chicken Chili

  1. CMac says:

    OOOOOh where oh where did you find these Snowcap Beans?? This looks deeeeelish!

    • It’s a local company, so fairly easy to find in markets around SF, but they do have an online shop if you’re further afield: click the link or do a search for “Rancho Gordo”. Great company w/ great business practices & an awesome product!

  2. CMac says:

    I am looking at their site now. Going to have to try some of these! Thanks so much for finding and sharing this company, I’d not heard of them.

  3. It’s finally chili time!! wahoo! what a yummy post!

  4. Stephanie says:

    I love white chicken chili in fall (as well ast the traditional one. Thanks for this post. I have done a similar recipe using tomatillos, giving it a slightly green hue and a more acidic taste.

  5. Liz says:

    Mmmmm….I like this even more than regular chili…and your recipe looks fabulous~

  6. This looks seriously fantastic!

  7. Kate, Now this is what I call a healthy, hearty chili and how I’ve been longing for a cool down to enjoy a bowl! I know for certain I’ll be trying this recipe…now if we can just get daytime highs cool and comfy!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Nothing says fall like a big bowl of warm and hearty chili!! This looks so delicious! I love white bean chili!

  9. I, too, prefer lighter white meat chilis. This one sounds like a total winner! Thanks for all the tips about freezing, too 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  10. Thanks for the notes, all! @Stephanie: tomatillos would be great here! Could use a hit of acidity to perk it all up, I considered splashing in some balsamic but didn’t try it.

  11. Kita says:

    Love me some chili! I tried a white chili last year and it was a disaster – that’s what I get for not reading the directions through! Your’s looks wonderful!

  12. Eliot says:

    I love fall weather and that means chili!

  13. I think this is going on the list of things to make this weekend! Thanks Kate, looks de-lish!

  14. Christine Lee says:

    That looks so good – this is when I wished Michael ate meat!

  15. Cecilia says:

    I made this chili last weekend (I took your advice and made my own chicken stock) — It was a real hit! I used dried cannellini beans. Thanks for sharing this and keep up the great work! My loved ones and I are very appreciative!

  16. Pingback: Slow Cooker Chicken Poblano | scarpetta dolcetto

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